Friday, July 28, 2017

Movie Review: Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron takes on action once again as she plays Lorraine Broughton, a vodka drinking, chain-smoking, British spy that is sent to Berlin right before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Director David Leitch uses his experience with fight scenes and car chases to make this espionage thriller more exciting than a usual Cold War film. After James Gascoigne (Sam Hargrave) is murdered, Lorraine is brought in to find out how he was exposed. The film plays out with Lorraine being debriefed by Eric Gray (Toby Jones), her superior and Emmett Kurzfeld (John Goodman), a CIA agent. The story flashes back ten days to when Lorraine receives the mission from Gray and C (James Faulkner). She is exposed immediately upon arrival and has to fight her way out of danger to finally meet her contact David Percival (James McAvoy). 

Percival has grown wild as the station leader in Berlin crossing under the wall to deal illegal product in the East where he established contact with Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), the informant who gave a watch to Gascoigne that contained a list of secret agent identities. Percival promises to smuggle Spyglass and his family over or through the wall but wants the watch first. Hunting Spyglass is the German officer Aleksander Bremovych (Roland Møller). Lorraine investigates Gascoigne's murder by going to his house only to find that Percival has called the Berlin police on her. She proceeds to beat down the officers in a cool action piece featured prominently in the trailer where she ties a rope around a man's neck and flings herself down several stories to escape. 

Following Lorraine since she landed and finally contacting her is the French spy Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella) who sparks a physical relationship with her British counterpart. Lorraine uses her own contact Merkel (Bill Skarsgård) to cross into the East and orchestrate an escape for Spyglass. Percival reveals his true color by obtaining the watch and observing the list. Lorraine lowers her guard with Delphine but she knows this relationship will only cause her trouble as a spy. The debriefing still hopes to uncover what happened and Berlin and they push Lorraine to tell the whole story in one long sitting not allowing for any breaks.

The plot is a bit confusing and slows a bit until Spyglass's escape. Percival betrays Broughton but she has enough skills to figure a way out. There is this awesome tracking shot scene where Lorraine fights attackers and makes her way down to a car while Spyglass deals with a bullet wound. This scene makes the movie and will be a major reason I want to watch it again. Lorraine fails to save Spyglass and it looks as if Kurzfeld is working with Percival to take out Broughton and obtain the list for the CIA. Percival takes out Delphine who was aware of Percival's betrayal and had evidence in photographs. Lorraine hunts down Percival as the Berlin Wall falls, killing him and obtaining the watch. The debriefing is an interrogation but ends with C telling Lorraine to just forget everything and start the new decade fresh. Lorraine has unfinished business as she takes out Bremovych pretending that she was the mole Satchel the whole time. Finally, it is revealed that she is, in fact, American and part of the CIA working with Kurzfeld. 

This film is not about the plot with the silly twists at the end only adding to the overall confusion of what exactly happened. The action is spectacular, especially that one scene of action where the fighting and camera never stop. I like to see Theron take on more action roles and it seems like this story could lend itself to a sequel or rather prequel since I think that's where the source material goes. McAvoy is great in nearly all his roles Leitch is a fun director to watch having enjoyed what he did with John Wick and now this film, I'm excited to see what he'll do with Deadpool 2. Atomic Blonde was pretty cool having the action elevate the convoluted spy plot. 

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