Matt Adcock reviews Atomic Blonde (15), starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy
In the mood for some stylish violent spy action? Good, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s 1989, just before the end of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall coming down. Top MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Theron) must use her expert killing skills to recover a leaked list of operatives which could wipe out most of the agents in the field.
Based on a graphic novel called The Coldest City, Director David ‘John Wick’ Leitch brings some of the most brutal and exciting spy-em-up action for years to the big screen and Theron is an absolute force of nature.
Fuelled by a fast-paced twisty plot which sees a Russian killer trying to sell the list of agents whilst both East and West try to recover it for themselves – by eliminating anyone in the way. Lorraine – who is the Atomic Blonde of the title – teams up with British Station Chief David Percival (James ‘Split’ McAvoy) in order to find out who stole the list and killed her friend in the process. However the two do not know if they can actually trust each other which makes for a dangerous game.
Also on hand is French agent Delphine Lasalle (Sofia ‘Kingsman’ Boutella) who takes a bit of shine to Lorraine but again – despite the two becoming lovers - can anyone actually be trusted in the Cold War paranoia?
Quality support is also on hand from John Goodman and Toby Jones who are the US and UK debriefing team tasked with finding out exactly what happened in Berlin and just why the body count is so large.
Everything about Atomic Blonde is super stylish, and the ‘80s music soundtrack is just superb – from the second New Order’s Blue Monday kicks in at the start through to use of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Depeche Mode with one of my all time faves Behind the Wheel.
If you want to quibble you could complain about the bad language or the amount of time the females spend in their underwear but overall this is a very strong new potential action franchise.
The action is frenetic and crunching – think John Wick at his best but female and every bit as cool. Theron has created a girl power action icon in Atomic Blonde – let’s hope there is a sequel.