80s, Atomic Blonde, Atonement, Charlize Theron, Dad's Army, David Bowie, David Leitch, Deadpool, Depeche Mode, Eddie Marsan, George Michael, James McAvoy, Kingsman, Little Dorritt, Mad Max, New Order, Queen, Sherlock Holmes, Sofia Boutella, The Clash, The Hunger Games, The Mummy, Toby Jones, X-Men
Undercover MI6 agent Lorraine (Charlize Theron, Mad Max) is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to partner up with David Percival (James McAvoy, X-Men, Atonement) and investigate the murder of a fellow agent as well as recover a missing list of double agents. Directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Deadpool) who is a stuntman/actor as well as a director – this shows in the quality and realism of the fight scenes – David cleverly uses a lot of greys and dark colours to represent the Cold War surrounding the actors but throws in a lot of neon lights to contrast with this and keep an 80s vibe going. This vibe is beautifully thrown in your face throughout by the very impressive 80s soundtrack featuring the likes of George Michael, Queen, Depeche Mode, The Clash, David Bowie and New Order.
Rated 15, Atomic Blonde is incredibly graphic with its violence. There are some pretty gruesome fight scenes including a few where blood splatters fly onto the camera lens. I had to look away a couple of times as it was all very realistic – the image of a set of keys going through a man’s cheek is one that will take a while to leave me! What I did like though was how Charlize’s character Lorraine was often the one initiating the fights and she certainly did not hold back. Her character is very hardcore, she comes across cold and distant to others but there are moments when she is alone that this exterior slips and we see a tired, bruised and vulnerable woman. These moments humanise her and make her more likeable. Charlize is great in this role, she is totally believable and gives off a quality that makes you aspire to be like her in certain ways. Of course the fact that she is incredibly beautiful (even whilst fighting) also helps!
James McAvoy’s character David is the total opposite to Lorraine, and the two of them struggle to form a partnership, with David often setting Lorraine up and resulting in her having to fight her way out of situations. They both have the same goal but very different ideas of how to get there. James McAvoy is again totally believable in this role, his shaved head and dodgy clothes gives off the air that Berlin is his city and he knows how to run it. The intrusion of Lorraine displeases him and James and Charlize work perfectly together to show this distrust throughout.
The way the story is told takes us back and forth between the present day where Lorraine is being interviewed about her mission and the past, the mission itself. Leitch cleverly flits between the two times and often imposes the different scenes on top of each other so we slowly fade between the two (an aspect I particularly liked). It also keeps the mystery/thriller genre going as we try to piece together what is happening.
The supporting cast includes some well known names and faces who all give excellent performances. It was great to see two British actors known more over here for TV shows getting decent roles on the big screen. Eddie Marsan (Little Dorritt, Sherlock Holmes) is Spyglass, an informer seeking safety on the other side of the Wall and Toby Jones (Dad’s Army, The Hunger Games) is Eric Gray, one of the men interviewing Lorraine. Another star who is slowly making a real name for herself is Sofia Boutella (Kingsman, The Mummy) who plays French agent Delphine who forms a close relationship with Lorraine.
Overall, Atomic Blonde is a very good film. It is filled with superb – if gory – action scenes and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing (although I did predict quite early on one of the big plot lines). The only thing that lets it down slightly is the ending is a tad confusing, I can’t say much without giving anything away but we came out the film not entirely sure what had happened! On the plus side though the soundtrack really is fantastic, so definitely go and see it for that alone!