Atomic Blond (2017)

(I failed spectacularly on the Christmas movie front this year, but here, have a review!)

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  • Directed by David Leitch
  • Starring Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan
  • Written by Kurt Johnstad
  • Action
  • Rated R
  • 1hr 55min
  • 28 July 2017

Synopsis

A spy is sent into Berlin after a fellow spy is killed in search of a dossier that contains the information of every single undercover operative in the region. Tasked with recovering the file at any cost necessary, she has very little time to get her hands on the dossier before the tensions in the city reach their pinnacle.

How’s the Story?

Really the story itself is the only place this movie falls down a bit for me. The details of the entire plot are kind of vague and it relies on you just not questioning any of the little hints dropped (like her and the dead guy having been in some sort of relationship, her background and why she was chosen for this detail, little bits here and there that seem to be throwaway subplots that never get explored, ect) and going with it.

Overall, however, the basic idea is good enough: Spy has to recover information at any cost and she has no real allies in it all. It’s not the most complex story ever told but it’s enough for me to go on as an action movie fan.

How’s the Acting?

I really liked how this one is performed. Charlize Theron usually is pretty good in my experience (or perhaps I’ve just been lucky, but who cares) so I was pleased with her performance. James McAvoy is equally a pretty reliable performer, and I really like his job in this one. Really, though, I think the standout performance in this one has to go to Eddie Marsan, someone I believe to be a highly under-valued talent. He’s rarely the star of the show, but he’s always good in whatever I see him in. He’s amazing in this one. Also, it was great to see Sofia Bouttella again. I’ve only seen her in one other thing, but I like her a lot in both that and this. I’m eager to see more of her in the future.

How’s the Writing/Directing?

There are some parts of this movie that are absolutely brilliant. It’s all good, of course, but I really appreciate some scenes that are just so realistic and against the normal ‘badass spy chick’ style. I like that she’s not shown to be invulnerable. Lorraine has a full show of emotions in this movie and a lady spy that’s not cold is such a positive. When she is upset over people dying and even cries at one point, I was thinking “Yes, finally a realistic reaction without it making her too weak to be badass.” Another scene that is directed in such a way that lends to realism is one where she’s fighting someone and they’ve both reached the ‘barely strong enough to sit up’ point of exhaustion. In a lot of spy movies, the people fighting never seem tired, and yet they chose to show the physical exhaustion that comes from fighting for your life. It’s absolutely wonderful to see an action movie that’s got more believable moments than usual.

How’s the Cinematography?

Oh my God, the lights and the colors are just soooo good in this one. The use of lighting in dark, daylight, artificial light, and reflective light is just so, so good. I loved some of the really more artistic camera choices than you expect in a straightforward action movie, too. This is a very visually solid film and I’m very pleased with the outcome.

Is It Worth Watching?

Though this film had some very lukewarm responses when it was released, I highly enjoyed this one. I regret not seeing it in theaters when it came out greatly, because this must have looked incredible on a big screen. There’s just so much to love about this movie that some of the iffy story points don’t really matter that much. I was so caught up in the music and the costumes and the visuals that I didn’t care at all for the negatives because there were so many positives.

I genuinely enjoyed this movie and I’m definitely buying this one on bluray sometime soon.

My Rating: 8/10

About J. Chelsea Williford

Movie addict, reader, writer, pop culture lover.
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