Movie Review: Atomic Blonde (2017)

Spies? 1980s? Charlize Theron? “John Wick” crew members? This sounds fucking sweet, so let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gents… “Atomic Blonde”.

Germany, 1989. Mi6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) has been sent on a mission to retrieve a list that has the names of undercover agents on it. And that’s the basic idea behind the plot. It’s something that’s been seen in movies and such before, but I would’ve been okay with it here had they done something fun and clever with it. But this plot has some issues. Firstly, it’s told as a series of flashbacks with Lorraine reporting to two agents played by Toby Jones and John Goodman. The problem is that this immediately takes the tension out of the plot, since we know where the hell she ends up. And secondly, for such a simple-ish idea, this plot is messy and kind of convoluted. I get that a spy movie needs to have twists and turns, but this thinks it’s clever in how it layers twist on twist on twist, but it just comes off as messy and convoluted. So the plot here is quite meh.

The characters here are… okay, I think. You don’t learn a lot about them in the movie, which made me not care too much about any of them. Charlize Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, the eponymous hero. She’s a highly skilled badass that can kick all sorts of ass while also being good at sneaky spy shit. However, you never really get to know her a lot. You get hints of things that have happened in her life, but nothing solid enough to make her compelling. But Theron gives a great performance here and I did enjoy seeing her kick ass. James McAvoy plays David Percvial, one of Broughton’s contacts in Berlin. He’s a bit less serious as a character, but he still gets to kick some ass. He’s charming, but not that deep of a character. McAvoy is great. Eddie Marsan plays a German man called Spyglass in this movie, and he might be the most compelling character in the movie despite not being a main one. That said, he’s not too deep. Marsan is great in the role at least. Toby Jones and John Goodman as the two agents that Broughton tells her story to are fine… they don’t get too much to do. They’re both good in the roles, but they’re not that interesting. Then we get some really solid supporting performances from people like Sofia Boutella, Til Schweiger, Bill Skarsgård, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Tyler Bates and it was good. It’s heavily electronic/synth-based and definitely fits the late 80s setting, and it’s quite fun to listen to. Then there’s a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout and I have mixed feelings about them. I like most of the songs here, my problem with them comes with how some of them are used within the editing of the movie. They often make it sound like the music comes from a source within the scene, whether it’s a speaker or a boombox, but then they cut it out like a regular background soundtrack. And those edits don’t really work that well as they distract quite a bit from the overall experience. But I admit that some are used well enough throughout the movie. Good music.

This movie was directed by David Leitch, one of the two men behind the first “John Wick” movie. And for the most part I think he did a great job. His directing is slick and everything has good energy to it, keeping it from feeling boring. And the cinematography by Jonathan Sela is absolutely stunning, he really make the movie look stylish hand cool. The action scenes here range from pretty good to fucking incredible. They are all a lot of fun to watch as it’s clear how much actual stuntwork is done here, both by stunt people and the actors themselves, which is so great to see in today’s computerized movie environment. Especially during an action scene during the second half of the movie. I won’t say what happens exactly, but it’s fucking amazing.

This movie has gotten some mixed-ish reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

Weird title and flaws aside, I enjoyed “Atomic Blonde”. It has a meh plot, okay-ish characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/cinematography. A previously mentioned, the plot is very messy as hell, and the characters aren’t great. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Atomic Blonde” is a 7,87/10. While flawed, I’d definitely say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Atomic Blonde” is now completed.

Cool.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Atomic Blonde (2017)

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