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Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde: On-Form Charlize Theron in Unapologetically Relentless Action

  • Charlize TheronJames McAvoy...
  • Action & AdventureMystery & Suspense...
  • David Leitch
reviewed by
Marija Djurovic
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Atomic Blonde: On-Form Charlize Theron in Unapologetically Relentless Action

As clichéd as the latest actioner from John Wick co-director, David Leitch (who is also the man in the director’s chair for Deadpool 2) may be, audiences won’t have a problem in buying into Atomic Blonde’s  brutal yet slinky world of dark secrets and hidden agendas. Based on Anthony Johnston’s graphic novel, The Coldest City, Atomic Blonde has everything you expect it to have and, although the story itself does face a few setbacks, Leitch and Theron keep the punches coming and the action rolling, creating a whirlwind of rhythmical mayhem that keeps you hooked, engaged and captivated the entire way through.

Set in 1989, Berlin – just before the fall of the Berlin Wall –  the story begins with the secret agent James Gasciogne (Hargrave) getting himself killed on the streets by a Russian spy Yuri Bakhtin (Johanneson), who manages to steal a special watch from the MI6 agent in the process.  The said watch is programed to contain all of the true identities of secret agents all over the world and retrieving it from the hands of the Russians is now a top priority for the heads of the MI6, including Eric Gray (Jones) and Chief C (Faulkner).

Called in for help is the MI6’s top-level agent, Lorraine Broughton (Theron looking better than ever) who had a secret relationship with the deceased and is now also wanting to seek revenge for his murder.  Sent to Berlin, Lorraine is soon paired with David Percival (McAvoy), a feral and unpredictable undercover spy who has been in Berlin way too long, with the two forming an uneasy partnership in the process. Things take a turn when Lorraine is identified by her enemies with the highly-skilled, no-nonsense agent soon finding herself the target of numerous assassins who have been sent after her whilst also trying to stay one step ahead of the game and locate the watch before it’s too late.

Scripted by Kurt Johnstand, Atomic Blonde is told through a flashback with the story unfolding in a dark and smoky interrogation room where Lorraine being forced to recall the details of her time in Berlin. From hereon then the story takes off on a pretty familiar road, following a pretty standard espionage setup, involving twists and turns – which at time are needlessly complicated – with the film failing to offer anything new to the world of spy games.  However, whilst the story definitely has its faults, they are easily overlooked as Leitch – a talented stunt-man who embraces his first solo directorial outing with great panache – delivers an enormous amount of energy and style to every single action sequence that follows.

Choreographed beautifully, the camerawork is excellent and watching the fight sequences unfold – the stairwell scene is an absolute standout – is almost brutally poetic in nature. Of course, none of that will be possible without the one and only Ms. Theron who once again proves that she is not to be messed with; committing to the role like a pro – she of course does most of her stunts – Theron is a steely force of nature who kicks, fights and stabs her way through the film and right into our hearts. She is the true star of the show which makes Atomic Blonde one brutal, yes, but equally mesmerizing viewing experience that is not to be missed. 

Like This? Try

John Wick (2014), John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

360 Tip

Eight different personal trainers helped Charlize Theron prepare for the physical side of the role and she also trained with Keanu Reeves who was preparing getting in shape for John Wick: Chapter 2 at the same time.

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