This was honestly one of my most anticipated films of the summer. As soon as I heard about it I immediately thought this looked like a female led version of John Wick. This sounded fantastic. To my surprised, David Leitch was actually an uncredited director of John Wick, which made sense as the films just seem so similar. More on that later. While the film isn’t perfect and the plot progression isn’t always ideal, I had a pretty great time watching this film and feel like it will continue to grow on me as time passes by/a re-watch occurs.
The film is set against a backdrop of the latter stages of the Cold War. Lorraine Broughton (played by a very wonderful Charlize Theron) is a seasoned MI6 agent who is tasked with gaining names of every agent in the Soviet Union. The list is concealed in a wristwatch and is sought out by other parties. She aligns with David Percival (James McAvoy) and as the film goes along she uncovers corruption and kicks the asses of bad guys in very awesome ways. The plot isn’t always strong, and isn’t always original. Sure, parts of it seems like rehases from something you would see in James Bond or any other Cold War era film but there’s many other elements of the film which makes for a pleasant viewing experience.
The soundtrack for this film is brilliant. Most of all of the songs are 80’s songs or covers of famous 80’s songs, bringing forth the authenticity of the era. You get blasted with so much 80’s New Wave sonic goodness. The camerawork and cinematography is impressive to me. There’s a long take (there may have been minimal cuts in between) which presents a giant fight between Lorraine and a bunch of assassins and its fantastic. All of the choreographed action is excellent, hand to hand combat is brilliant. The action never lets up.
The picture quality of the film is slightly darker and bluer which really complements the era and the overall aesthetic of the picture. The film is littered with neon lights in clubs, hotel rooms. Love scenes in neon glory? Hell yes! Sofia Boutella (an actress who is really growing on me) in a lesbian relationship with Charlize Theron? Double hell yes. Its very wonderful because of its sensuality and the innocence in Boutella’s character.
Apparently Leitch was supposed to be a part of John Wick Chapter 2 but dropped out to film Atomic Blonde. This was a blessing because the style and action elements of this film are quite reminiscent of John Wick and also make Atomic Blonde what it is. Apparently, Theron sparred with Keanu Reeves as they were in competition with each other, probably to see who could out badass the other. It would be nice if they could exist in the same universe by the timeline of the films would be messed up.
Is this film perfect? No. It could definitely be better. Its a joy to watch though. The more I think about it the more I really like it. Charlize Theron is a great actress no doubt, but now she is a full fledged action star. This film and Mad Max: Fury Road solidify that. I’m going to reach and give this film an 8 because I’m very high on the film right now. We will see what a re-watch does for this film.