Director: David Leitch
Writer/s: Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Antony Johnston, Sam Hart (based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City”)
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, John Goodman, Toby Jones, and more.
Oh, I have been waiting for this review on two different fronts. One, I have been pumped for this film since I first saw the trailer. A bad-ass lead female, the director of John Wick, some sick looking cinematography. What is not to like and look forward to? Second, after watching the film and enjoying it as much as I did, I came to realize others did not see it the same way and in my opinion, some of the claims to it being “bad” is quite unfair. So here is a bit of a counter argument to the negative opinions and the “meh” reviews. Time for ‘Atomic Blonde’ to get an Oberrated.
“An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.”
As of July 29, 2017, ‘Atomic Blonde’ sits on a 7.2 out of 10. A lot of reviews are making claims like “The whole movie is just following Charlize walk through cities.” or the movie is bland, boring, too long, generic. Blah blah blah. Before I get to these ignorant plebs, I am going to speak on why I think this film was quite exceptional.
I have been coining this film as a “Chess match of a spy film”. It was intelligent, it was clever, it was a well thought out and calculated film. Instead of watching the good and bad characters march aimlessly through action scene after action scene as they just happen to find out their next steps in their mission. Here we saw the characters studying and anticipating their next steps, watching them try to be one step ahead of their counterpart. Sometimes it is just better to watch a film be a tad more realistic than the typical shoot em up and predictable action/spy flick. I would think a real mission involves a bit of research and this film actually shows moments of research and studying versus the coincidental clue finding as a spy massacres an army of enemies.
Production wise and stylistically, this film was phenomenal on these fronts as well. The use of colors symbolized a cold vibe throughout the duration of the film (P.S. it was based during the Cold War era, so, hint hint). The cinematography was brilliant from the action scenes to even the scenes where it was just Charlize being interrogated by John Goodman and Toby Jones. Not even mentioning the stairwell scene leading into the car chase which was immaculate and jaw-dropping. When a film gives fantastic performances on top of stunning visuals, it is an instant hit in my book and ‘Atomic Blonde’ rocks that look with utter perfection.
LASTLY, all these negative reviews. I am personally sick and tired of hearing and reading comments like the film was boring, there was not enough action, it was confusing, etc etc. Problem number one: People saw that this film was directed by David Leitch. With this fact, everyone instantly thinks it is going to be a female John Wick which translates to 100mph action scenes and everything working out in the end. NEWS FLASH, JUST BECAUSE THAT IS NOT THE CASE DOES NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE BORING. Just because a slower and carefully calculated action spy movie does not satisfy your brutal action bug does not mean it is instantly a failure. Pull your petty mind out of your ass. Problem number two: Confusing. Now while I can understand a bit of confusion by the film’s end, that does not mean its final result should be as so. Take a moment to talk it out. Have a conversation with your buddy. Do a little Google research and see if you can agree or not. What I am trying to say is IT IS NOT AS CONFUSING AS IT SEEMS. Sure there is a twist or two. Sure there is character confusion but God damn, think it out for more than three seconds before you walk out of your auditorium going “I have no idea what happened, that movie was bad.” You are the problem.
As you can see, I enjoyed this film a lot. It is an uncommon take on spy films in the way of pacing and when a “less popular” take is being presented to audiences that favor another style, they typically respond negatively rather than seeking to understand the film the way it was done. ‘Atomic Blonde’ presented an intelligent spy film starring a kick-ass female lead that I truly can get behind and support. The spy film market is saturated with quick moving, action-packed, coincidental films and even though some can be great and some are far too common, experiencing this change of style is more than welcomed. Keep your eyes open, give it some thought after the film is over and I promise you if you can piece the puzzle that was given to you, it is all the better to enjoy once understood.