Atomic Blonde is the new movie from John Wick director, David Leitch, based on the graphic novel “The Coldest City.” The movie takes place in 1987, right before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Lorraine (Charlize Theron) must now got to Berlin in order to investigate the murder of a fellow MI6 agent and acquire a list of “double agents.”
The film, presented as a female version of John Wick, is filled with intense action sequences. Theron, who is our main character throughout the film, pushes herself to the limit as the majority of the action sequences are close up. She does an incredible job of making these scenes feel authentic and not something that has a stunt person coming in at every turn. Theron is not so much of an assassin in this film, but rather a secret agent on the hunt to find answers. The movie begins as Theron sits in an interrogation room telling two of her superiors what happened when she was in Berlin. Now while this may seem cumbersome to some viewers, I didn’t mind this way of storytelling.
Throughout the film we are introduced to many characters such as David Percival (James McAvoy) and Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella). McAvoy did a great job of playing the “conceded jerk” role. His character works with Theron to find answers during this investigation and takes liberty with dishing out some raw justice. But it was Boutella’s role that wasn’t developed. Her character does nothing to forward the plot, in fact it rather hinders the progression. Bill Skarsgård, who plays a fellow helper to Theron, was severely underutilized. There were some moments that his character really intrigued me.
But even with great action scenes and decent characters, it couldn’t help this film in the long run. The overall plot of the film becomes incredibly messy as the story unfolds. Without spoiling anything, the character developments become muddied as the story is saying “this person is this. This person did this thing.” And so on and so forth. The film is difficult to follow as it nears the end. Atomic Blonde is basically one that concentrates solely on the action, but leaves the story on the backburner, which is a mistake, and sadly common, in films these days. As for the soundtrack in the film, it tries to be clever and integrate songs that were popular at that time. For example, one of the action scenes became a total letdown as it starts playing a slow song. The film tries to utilize the music that people would have in their apartments, because not everyone has crazy fight music on their record player, but that way of thinking is not consistent throughout. The music pops in and out at inopportune times.
Atomic Blonde is a decent movie that has some exquisite hand to hand combat scenes. There was an opportunity to make this film into something special. However, the story is lackluster and packs less of a punch than our brilliant main character.
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgård, and John Goodman