"Quiet, Fashionable Vengeance"
A Review of "Atomic Blonde" by Nathan H. Box
Director: David Leitch, Writers: Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Antony Johnston, Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman
Rating: 3 Stars, STREAM!
"Atomic Blonde" is about an undercover MI6 agent sent into the divided city of Berlin during the end of the Cold War. Charlize Theron's character is sent to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents. None of this is a tremendously original idea. But the execution makes this one of the most memorable movies of 2017.
Charlize's character, Lorraine Broughton, begins the movie bruised and battered. At no point in this film, do those wounds heal. Why? Because the fight and action scenes in this movie are hypnotic. The choreography is like a violent form of ballet. It is mesmerizing, alluring, pulse pounding, gasp inducing, and sexy as hell. Throughout the entirety of this film, Charlize carries herself with a quiet, yet fashionable vengeance on her way to giving us one of the most memorable performances of the year.
Toward the end of the film, there is a fight scene that begins in a staircase, spills into an apartment, and then the streets before ending in an icy river. Without a doubt, these 15 minutes were some of the coolest I have ever seen on film. When it was all over, I leaned over to my partner and violated one of my cardinal rules; I talked during a movie. I whispered that is one of the most bad-ass things I have ever seen. In those moments, you felt every punch and as well as the exhaustion of the actors on the screen. I know the Oscars don't award choreography but after witnessing this scene, they should consider it.
This movie also plays like David Bowie lyrics. It is filled with 80's glam and excess. It is communism meets capitalism. It is sex and violence. It is everything I hear in David Bowie songs. Funny enough, you can hear quite a few of them playing the soundtrack to this movie.
Ultimately, this is a spy vs. spy movie. Throughout the film, you wonder who is playing who. While we know Charlize is the hero, the murky ending leaves a lot of doubt. In fact, when I got home I had to look up a YouTube video to have the ending explained to me. This is never a good sign. If the ending had been more clear, I would recommend seeing it now. Since it isn't, I recommend you stream this one.
Be good to each other,