Atomic Blonde tries really hard to tell a story that isn’t there to begin with and the attempt is a strain all around. It’s self-indulgent, it drags, there is needless exposition and even a strange epilogue. However, there are some memorable and cool moments in the film, including an especially jaw dropping/teeth clinching/jaw dropping car chase scene.
And if you think you’d like seeing Charlize Theron beat, kick, punch, stab with a 5 inch stiletto, strangle, psychologically accost and verbally berate dozens of guys, while sprinkling in a lesbian spy love affair, then by all means don’t miss this film.
The art direction was truly impressive with spot on depictions of the Berlin Wall and its blockades and guard towers. Apparently since the last war movie we saw dealing with the GDR, Spielberg’s Tom Hanks vehicle, Bridge of Spies, the sun still refuses to ever shine in communist East Berlin.
Scenes like the one in the nightclub where Theron rendezvous with a sexy French agent, Sofia Boutella, (who was strong in Star Trek and unsteady in The Mummy) are really well done in terms of their mix of realism and fantasy. Great dramatic tension and acting make it easy to suspend disbelief. Here, an adjacent space painted red with light next to a packed dance floor allows for the privacy of a long conversation about the perils of espionage, some gun play and even foreplay. Why not!
James McAvoy proves once again without a shadow of a doubt that he has impeccable acting range. It’s a pleasure to watch him do his thing. And as a period piece, the soundtrack rocked with some favorite bands and songs of the era. This is one film that, like Baby Driver, will have you rockin’ and head bobbin’ to a killer soundtrack.
So the movie has a lot going for it. The style of a DePalma at the height of his kinetic powers, fantastic actors unleashed, solid art direction, fun music, some kicking royal ass action sequences. Ultimately the wonderful elements don’t add up to an exceptional film but Atomic Blonde does have its moments and there is no doubt Charlize Theron is a bona fide badass.