An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.
‘Atomic Blonde’ is a stylish thriller from ‘John Wick’ director David Leitch, starring Charlize Theron as a spy tasked with locating a list of double agents that has gone missing somewhere in Berlin. Taking place just before the wall came down provides a political backdrop to proceedings (albeit the film does little with it), and an excuse to fill the soundtrack with a plethora of 80s classics to punctuate the many action sequences. The premise is loosely based on a comic book and the film pays lip service to this with the hyper stylised action scenes and bombastic approach to storytelling, and for the most part it’s pretty effective and I did enjoy it.
The film’s strong points mainly surround the superb fight sequences which are incredibly good (not a surprise from the man who made ‘John Wick’), taking advantage of the action skills of Charlize Theron as she takes on all comers in a variety of settings. Theron herself delivers a brilliant performance at the centre of the movie, captivating me from the outset with a striking look and a character who commands your attention. The support comes from a couple of suits (played in their sleep by Toby Jones and John Goodman) and James McAvoy as a Berlin based agent whom Theron’s character teams up with. Like many films of a similar ilk, it’s let down by its pacing (it doesn’t captivate nearly as well away from the actions sequences) and a plot that the writers clearly believe is much cleverer than it is. The soundtrack does feel like someone has gone crazy on the jukebox and the film doesn’t use its setting as much more than window dressing, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say the good points strongly outweighed the negatives.
To an extent ‘Atomic Blonde’ feels like a setting and a soundtrack with a plot welded around it, but it is entertaining, largely down to a great lead performance from Charlize Theron and a series of superbly staged, visceral and intense fight scenes. It won’t be the best film you see this summer, but if you’re looking for a strong action movie, you can do a lot worse than checking out ‘Atomic Blonde’.
Directed By: David Leitch
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, Toby Jones, Bill Skarsgård, Sam Hargrave, James Faulkner and Roland Møller
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