There aren’t a lot of action movies that come to mind that have a strong female lead. A female who can kick ass, take names, and look styling and flawless while doing so. That has now changed with the release of Atomic Blonde. Believe me when I say that this movie is incredible, and is arguably the best action movie of the summer. Below is my fairly spoiler free review of the movie.
Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch, and is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City, which was written by Antony Johnston. The story is set in 1989 at the height of the Cold War. Spy Lorraine (Charlize Theron) has been tasked with retrieving the body of fellow spy James Gasciogne (Sam Hargrave ). Gasciogne was murdered whilst in Berlin, and had The List on his person at the time of his death. The List contains the information of all spies in the world, including the identity of a double-agent known only as The Satchel.
MI6 Supervisor Eric Gray (Toby Jones), along with CIA Head Emmett Kurzfeld(John Goodman), appoint David Percival (James McAvoy) as Lorraine’s contact in Berlin. Together, the two try to track down The List and a man named Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), who has memorized it. After being met by KGB agents at every corner, it becomes clear that there is a mole in the organization. On top of the KGB, Lorraine is also being followed by a coy young spy named Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella). Between a French spy, KGB baddies, and a mole, Lorraine must remember the golden rule of espionage: trust no one.
Atomic Blonde is a movie that I feel gets everything right. The cinematography and set design was amazing. The ambiance really captures a blend between the eighties and the graphic novel the movie is based on. A lot of neon blues and pinks are used with a slight blur at the edge of the frame, creating an almost panel effect. The fight scenes were some of the best I’ve seen, and steer clear of being campy or obviously fake.I commend Charlize Theron for doing her own stunts, especially in heels.
On top of having great visuals, the soundtrack for Atomic Blonde is phenomenal. Filled with classics from Duran Duran, Queen, The Clash, Blondie, and Nena, it’s a nostalgia gold mine. A really cool thing done was having the location of the music change where it was playing. Transitioning from headphones, to boom boxes, to different car stereos was a great immersion technique and kept me focused.
As I previously mentioned, it’s rare for an action movie to have a female protagonist. Typically, when a woman is a protagonist, the focus is on her love interest, her lack of a love interest, or her need to prove herself. This is not the case with Atomic Blonde. Lorraine doesn’t need to prove herself as the best because she is the best. She has flings, but they don’t make up her whole identity. She doesn’t pull punches, and doesn’t expect her enemies to either. It was exceptional and rare to see, and I hope viewers appreciate it as much as I do.
If you are going to see any movie this summer, I highly suggest seeing Atomic Blonde. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss, and one you won’t regret.