Atomic Blonde: More Action Than the Actual Cold War

I really liked watching this movie, but I couldn’t tell you what the hell it was about. Atomic Blonde was full of great actors, amazing cinematography, and balls to the wall action. But the plot was so convoluted and messy that it felt like homework trying to figure out what was going on. The 2017 film, directed by David Leitch, tries really hard to be the greatest spy movie of all time. There are so many twists and turns that I got whiplash. However, the rest of the movie was great. But does it really matter how good the rest of the movie is, if the story isn’t strong enough to stand on.

Spy movies are a genre all their own. James Bond might own the title of most iconic spy in Hollywood, however there is a lot of room in the genre for better stories. Atomic Blonde takes place during the Cold War. This time period is where the spy genre was born. The Cold War never had any actual soldiers fighting. All the battles were done covertly. Mainly in public opinion, which is why the stories of super-spies became so popular. No one believes the ‘real story’, so movies like this attempt to make a better one. One full of secrets, back stabbing double agents, and sex. Unfortunatley in this one, they took a potentially good spy story and put it on steroids. Characters were talked about who I didn’t know about. Double agents turned into triple agents, which turned into rogue agents. People lied about lying about telling the truth. The motives of characters made no sense. And they relied too heavily on the “something is said but we will tell you about it later”… and then never fill the audience in. At the end of the day, the plot got so ridiculous that I lost interest trying to figure it out. And it is a real shame because the style and action was so good.

In a world where iconic soundtracks and dynamic colorful sets are ruling Hollywood, this movie meets the bar. I might be personally swayed by my love of the 80’s, but the soundtrack was exceptional. Depeche Mode, The Clash, Til’ Tuesday, George Michael…. It’s like a ‘best of the 80’s’ perfect hits. The entire movie actually felt like a Synth-Pop/New Wave/Punk Rock music video. The cinematography was really stylized and made the movie feel like an homage to the time period. On top of all that the fight choreography felt planned in line with the rest of the film in mind. First off, it paired up with the music. It felt as if all the different creators of creative input actually worked together to make it one coherent work of art. Secondly, it was fucking brutal. I would say the action was on par with films like John Wick (David Leitch was one of the directors for that film so it makes sense). And it was made more raw when you see Charlize Theron do majority of her own stunts. Beautiful long shots let the audience know it really was her doing the moves.

Besides taking a few hits, Charlize killed it in this movie. She is a bad-ass and the way she played the character actually had me disconnecting from her as an actress. James McAvoy, as always, plays a great crazy person. Most of the cast is great; we have Eddie Marsan, John Goodman, and Toby Jones and different types of agents. However I have a real problem with one character, Delphine LaSalle, played by Sofia Boutella. She is meant to play a French spy but nothing she does or says leads me to believe this. Honestly I think she was put in the movie just to have a sex scene. Not only is her character kind of useless, but it actually undercuts another part of the plot involving Charlize’s character. But to be fair half the movie is apparently meant to undercut the other half so I don’t blame that aspect too much.

As much as I really enjoyed watching the film, I can’t tell you what it was about. Something about a list of spies and the Berlin Wall falling, I think? I don’t remember why people betray each other, switch emotions and motives halfway through, or why anyone dies really. It was fun to watch but the movie does not survive The Snappening. Apparently a sequel is on the way. Hopefully in the new one they let me know what the hell is going on in Berlin and why James McAvoy loved that city so much.

 

Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith

 

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