I saw Atomic Blonde over the weekend and I liked it (if you’ve seen the trailer, there was never any question I’d enjoy this one). The plot is not all that original (spies, double agents and double crossing), but the setting, characters and action make it a stand out. Let’s face it, some of the most intense scenarios in the spy world would have taken place during the Cold War. Atomic Blonde is set during one of the most tense periods in that war – the week the Berlin Wall fell… and the story unfolds in Berlin.
It’s no surprise that anxieties and tensions are high throughout the film. And as with any good spy movie, even the audience isn’t entirely sure who’s telling the truth and who can be trusted. There is so much back stabbing (literal and figurative) and sabotage – it does get a bit difficult to keep track of the lies within lies and who’s who. Even by the end the audience can’t be sure whose side to be on.
One of the best aspects of this movie is the action. There are a couple of great car chase sequences, which I think are always made better when in Europe because of the narrow streets. But the true stand out here is the fight scenes. They are raw, brutal and so well-choreographed as to be entirely believable. Many of them were single, continuous shots which makes them all the more amazing as the actors and stunt people didn’t get to take a break between swinging punches. You get to see the exhaustion as each fight progresses, adding to the realism.
Charlize Theron truly kicks ass in this movie. We all know by now how great an actress she is, but she seems very comfortable in this sort of role. She plays a spy incredibly well. And kudos to her for an unapologetic portrayal of a bisexual character, something we don’t see often enough in big name productions. Plus, she did most of her own stunt work and fighting – look up some of her training footage as she prepared for shooting and you’ll be amazed. Atomic Blonde is not a perfect movie, but it’s good and well worth the price of admission.