Atomic Blonde is one of those films that still needs work in some areas but is still really well done for what it is… An action/spy film noir set in 1989 featuring a strong female lead.
For me, I had to see it a second time to see what I missed the first, and really focus on the details.
I found what I missed, and then I seen all the pieces come together like a jigsaw puzzle. I had an “oh” facepalm moment.
This film is based on of the graphic novel “The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston. Which now I need to get my hands on to compare how the film stands up to the original work.
I got so excited about this film that I started writing my review on a Tim Hortons napkin…
I have to say, with all the films (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Baby Driver) recently having soundtracks that really not only suit the film and style and era but are a real part of the film, Atomic Blonde is definitely one of those.
My number one compliment to the soundtrack is the inclusion of the German songs, not only are a lot of the ’80s era music from Germany, the original song is actually in German, and to feature the original tracks in this film are a massive homage and extremely respectful to the artists. Major Tom, by Peter Schilling, is his tribute to David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Most North Americans probably haven’t even heard the German version, but you’ll know it to hear it.
Being set in the ’80s, it’s very important that the music be from that era and they nailed it on the head! Not to mention the score has a ’80s feel to it as well as it sounds a bit (in my opinion since I listen to A LOT of ) industrial German. The composer, Tyler Bates, did an incredible job and has the credentials to back it up, working with Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, worked on the Guardians of the Galaxy, and John Wick.
Speaking of John Wick, the director of this film, David Leitch, is uncredited as a director of a few scenes of John Wick, in which you can tell he pulled the style. Since both films are spy thrillers. His next film is Deadpool 2.
Leitch did well in his direction of this film. But I’m curious to see the director’s cut, because there were a few spots in which the film seemed like it was going to end but then it kind of paused and kept going. I’m not sure if this was intentional or if there are more scenes that were cut that perhaps tie into the choppiness that is the theatrical version.
A few other good things I will say about the inclusion of things in this film is the actual footage of a quote by Regan at the beginning, “We don’t mistrust each other because we’re armed; we’re armed because we mistrust each other.”- Ronald Reagan; and the actual footage of MTV anchor Kurt Loder, after the Berlin wall came down.
Charlize Theron: Atomic Blonde herself Lorraine Broughton
She did well as her character but something about the blonde hairstyle just didn’t quite sit right. As the main focus of the film she brought a badass tough girl, no bullshit attitude but still with human emotions and perhaps flaw? as a spy this may be part of a tell… as you’d think most spies would have to keep their emotions in check. I won’t give away anything, but say this, pay attention to every detail you can in this film if you really want to figure it out. 😉
James McAvoy: David Percival MI6 Agent
As Broughton’s Berlin contact and superior, he’s also got some skeletons hiding in his closet. Can the audience see them in plain sight? He’s a rat bastard you like to hate, mostly due to his cunning grin. McAvoy does an incredible job playing this character and pulls off the “[h]andsome, late 30’s, disastrous Sinead O’Connor hair.”
Sofia Boutella: Delphine Lasalle
Without giving away exactly who she is, I’ll say that she’s naive and innocent, a bit of punk rock meets Flashdance. But unfortunately Boutella tries a bit too hard to pull this persona off, which is a shame since she did really well as Jaylah in Star Trek: Beyond. The style looks good on her, but, I feel the character isn’t fully developed. Perhaps the director’s cut may shed some light?
I loved this film, as much as it’s not completely fantastic. I think it’s the ’80s era and the fact it’s centered around the Cold War and the Berlin Wall that intrigued me the most. Since well, my favourite band Rammstein grew up behind the wall, I’d be curious to know what they think of the film.