It’s the attention to detail that makes the film as jolting as it is
In a similar vein to Kick-Ass, Atomic Blonde is based on a graphic novel with both films utilising this fact brilliantly. The sweeping camera shots, as if they were panels on a page, is excellent, particularly in the elongated fight sequences. There’s a real homage to the world that Atomic Blonde originally came from, and it’s this attention to detail that makes the film as jolting as it is.
Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is an MI6 agent, sent to Berlin to recover an article called ‘The List’ whilst attempting to discover the identity of a mole called ‘Satchel’. Broughton is aided by David Percival (James McAvoy) a maverick agent known for his wild and dangerous personality. Her mission becomes increasingly difficult when multiple threats attempt to take her out.
Stemming from the intricate camera work comes the rest of the picture’s efforts at creating the world Broughton is fighting within. For the most part, it feels like this is the director’s cut. David Leitch has stamped his mark on every inch of what is on show, and it makes for a fascinatingly stylised film. The soundtrack is brilliantly thrilling, sparking not just an 80’s vibe but one of an electric nature with huge lift behind it. The extended fight scenes are vicious but exhilarating at the same time, with the film benefiting massively from its immersive nature.
The story itself is particularly original, but that doesn’t make it unpredictable. There’s an element behind it which gives away it’s big reveal, readily to anyone watching. Something that could essentially have been avoided fairly easily. Yet, Charlize Theron and James McAvoy both do wonderful jobs of distracting from the plot holes and filling them with huge personality and great characterization.
Atomic Blonde is not going to blow away audiences with its fairly weak spy story, but there is enough substance in the excellent direction and the overall intricacy to entertain and transport anyone available to a captivating but lost time in history.