Atomic Blonde


Swanner: An undercover MI6 agent, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), is dispatched to Berlin in the closing days of the cold war to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and to recover a list of double agents that was taken from him. Once in Berlin, Lorraine is to meet David Percival (James McAvoy), the sketchy Berlin station chief whom she must work with to find the list of agents. Directed David Leitch, who co-directed John Wick (uncredited) brings the same high energy here, with plenty of fantastic stunt fight sequences with Theron kicking some serious ass.

Judd: David Leitch knows how to direct fight sequences; he is one of the best in the business at this time. John Wick, and now Atomic Blonde, are perfect examples of how these types of scenes should be filmed. The camera is kept far enough away, and more importantly, steady enough to see what is happening. The choreography is spot on. The movie is based on a graphic novel series called “The Coldest City.” In addition to the fantastic fight sequences, the majority of the movie is cast in neon hues of pink and blue, which makes it feel like scenes were lifted directly off the pages.

Swanner: You know the production designers and costumers had a great time. If the 80’s only looked so cool. The film did have a great look to it. Cinematography and editing were terrific as well. I was never lost in the high action scenes whether in a car, on foot, or flying down a staircase. I also have to mention how amazing the stunts are in the film. The very first stunt with the MI6 agent blew me away. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that stunt done without clever editing.

Judd:  I wish the plot had engaged me as much as the stunts. As with most movie adaptations, plot lines are pared and character-arcs are dropped. The movie has many characters that serve one purpose, the watch dealer and the underground coordinator for example, that seemed like they should have had more to do. The movie also ends with some twists that were superfluous, especially after what could have stood as a throughly satisfying ending.

Swanner: I do agree the plot wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped. Screenwriter Kurt Johnstad approached the script very much like John Wick. It was all about the damage Theron leaves behind on her tour of East and West Berlin. The rest of the cast is made up of John Goodman, Toby Johns, Eddie Marsan, James Faulkner, Roland Moller and Sofia Boutella. I really enjoyed the film. I think it’s interesting that in a summer of what was promising big box-office films, most of which have disappointed, it’s the little guys that have delivered.

Swanner: 3 ½ stars
Judd: 3 stars


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