Atomic Blonde

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Atomic Blonde
"The pace squeezes your windpipe; the action pulverises your senses; the plot double crosses your preconception"

When is a spy a lie?

Truth is almost certainly the vic here. Fiction adds sex appeal, excitement and the whole nine yards, meaning don't believe any of it, simply buckle up and fly right.

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Atomic Blonde cuts the legs off The Man From U.N.C.L.E, gives James Bond a run for his money and sends Baby Driver back to the kindergarten. The pace squeezes your windpipe; the action pulverises your senses; the plot double crosses your preconception.

Charlize Theron looks like a million dollars and fights like Bruce Lee's little sister. James McAvoy has gone rogue. It suits him. And the film suits you. Or should.

Berlin '89. The tear in the Iron Curtain questions the Soviet Union's denial of democracy. Not yet. First the wall. The Stasi feels the rumble of rebellion. Fear is naked.

MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is sent into the city to make contact with their man on the ground (McAvoy) after another undercover operative and possible ex-lover has been murdered. The purpose of her assignment is to retrieve a list that has been stolen, containing the names of every spy on their books which, in the wrong hands, would be political dynamite.

First there is the mission and then there is the lady. One is compromised by loyalty's corruption and the other electrified by a performance that sends shivers down your spine.

Lorraine is cool, even closed. Her mantra ("Trust no one") has been burnt into the core of her being. Cynicism can disguise a wounded romantic. Not here. Lorraine's distrust of human nature has been forged upon experience. Love is weak. Watch your back. Affection is flawed. Watch the back of your back. Emotions leak. Suspect advice. Desire deceives. Presume betrayal. And so she goes. For now. Living by her rules.

The film is shot in flashback as Lorraine is interrogated by her boss (Toby Jones) and a man from the CIA (John Goodman) about what happened over there. This technique can be messy, but rookie director David Leitch recognises the pitfalls and deftly avoids them.

Wait! It's not over.

If you admired Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road you will be blown out of your skin by this. There are times when you wonder how she can survive intact and there are times when you want to sell the house, fly to L.A and propose marriage.

Reviewed on: 04 Aug 2017
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Atomic Blonde packshot
An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent.

Director: David Leitch

Writer: Kurt Johnstad, based on the graphic novel by Antony Johnston

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, John Goodman, James Faulkner, Roland Møller, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgård, Daniel Hargrave, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson

Year: 2017

Runtime: 115 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA

Festivals:

Fantasia 2017

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