Just been watching…(70)

Atomic Blonde (2017)

***No plot spoilers***

I got this DVD for my birthday in March, and the first rainy day of this summer gave me time to watch it today. I don’t usually care for such ‘action blockbusters’, and rarely watch ‘spy’ films such as those featuring a certain Mr Bond. But Charlize Theron looked so good in the trailer, I couldn’t resist.

She plays a British agent, Lorraine Broughton, sent to Berlin by MI6 to recover a list of double agents. (Her British accent is somewhat hit and miss, to be honest, but there is a reason for that.) This is Berlin in 1989, a short time before unification, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The film is told in flashback, as Lorraine is being debriefed by her superiors. Berlin is full of spies, agents, and double agents. There are Russians, Stasi operatives, French spies, British spies, and CIA agents too. There is also the East German underground, happy to help the foreigners bring down the DDR.

The film kicks off with action, and keeps the momentum going, except when it returns to the present as she tells her story. Some great set pieces (and Charlize) kept my attention, and Lorraine soon establishes that she is not a woman to be messed with. She can fight, and fight really well. She can shoot a gun, use a knife, apply any handy utensil as a weapon, and drive any car like a rally driver. Her toughness is driven home, so we are in no doubt.

When she has a bath, she fills it with ice cubes first.
She smokes a lot of cigarettes.
She drinks a lot of vodka. Stolichnaya, of course.
She doesn’t trust anyone, not even her ‘own side’.
She can defeat any enemies, no matter how many of them appear at the same time.
And she looks good, really good in fact. (Charlize is 43, and looks better than ever)
She looks good in trousers.
She looks good in a trench coat.
She looks good almost drowning in a submerged car.
She looks good in a T-shirt.
She looks good in a short skirt.
She looks good in stockings and suspenders.
She looks good in a cocktail dress.
She looks good during her short lesbian affair with the French female agent.
She even looks good when she has been beaten up, and is covered in bruises.
(And she has a lot of outfits, considering her luggage)

Her contact in Berlin is British agent David Percival. (James McAvoy) He is unreliable, untrustworthy, and appears to have gone ‘rogue’, dabbling in Black Market goods. But he might know how to get the desired ‘list’, as he has a Stasi agent in his confidence. (Eddie Marsan, with a German accent) Of course, he is also tough.
He smokes a lot of cigarettes.
He drinks a lot of whiskey. Jack Daniels, of course.
He can fight too, but not as well as Lorraine.
He doesn’t trust anyone, not even his ‘own side’.
(He is badly-dressed and scruffy, but he claims it is to ‘blend in’.)

So the scene is set. Everyone wants the ‘list’, and will do anything to get it. No plot spoilers, but it won’t surprise you that nobody is quite what they appear to be. It is a ‘spy’ film, after all. It even has what I generally call a ‘double-quadruple-double-bluff’ twist ending. But if you have seen more than one similar film in your life, you should have guessed that reveal by half way through, if not sooner. The atmosphere is good, and the period well handled by using old cars, fashions from the 1980s, and some great contemporary pop music on the soundtrack. For me, the overrated McAvoy was perhaps the weak link in an otherwise solid cast. There is the estimable Toby Jones, John Goodman with a white beard, Bill Skarsgard as the DDR dissident, and the previously mentioned Eddie Marsan.

Then there is Charlize of course. She is nothing short of magnificent to look at throughout. (Did I mention how good she looks, wearing anything?) Her physical antics in the film are outstanding, even though obviously well-choreographed. I didn’t really care what else happened, as when she was on screen (in almost every scene) she was the only thing I wanted to watch. It is her film so completely, I also really didn’t care who else was in it. This was adapted from a graphic novel, and at times that shows. But it doesn’t matter. Charlize rules. She is just great.
I loved her in this film, so nothing else mattered.

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48 thoughts on “Just been watching…(70)

    1. It could be good with another actress who fitted the role so well, Jennie. CT is the right age, the right build, and plays it with enough sass too. If they had picked the right person to play it the same way, then I would have liked it, though perhaps not quite so much. ๐Ÿ™‚ Casting can make or break a film.

      (I liked The Bourne Identity, and that starred Matt Damon…)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I watched it recently. Charlize is truly amazing. I suspended belief for the length of this film and just enjoyed it for what it was. Some great scenes. I didnโ€™t realise it was a Graphic Novel (but I tend to like films with this start point – like early Batman movies and The Walking Dead (tv I know!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do they play Blondie’s “Atomic” during the film? But, seriously, this is a film I’d like to see. Thanks to one or two subtle hints in your review, I did get the impression that you quite possibly like Charlize Theron.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post ๐Ÿ™‚ Atomic Blonde was fun and I too love Charlize Theron ๐Ÿ™‚ She is a great actress and she is beautiful as well ๐Ÿ™‚ In terms of current working actresses, If one were to ask me the question of which two (and it can only be two) actresses that I think are not only great at their professions, but also gorgeous as well, it would be Charlize Theron and Sienna Miller. Anyway, keep up the great work as always ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like Chalize Theron too, but probably not as much or in the same way that you do Pete. I think she’s a great actor. Ha! She is very good looking, no doubt.
    I love spy films. You mentioned Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Great films. And then there’s The Day of the Jackal. I love that one too.
    Oh, man, you don’t even like Skyfall? Daniel Craig is boss, Pete. I think he’s the best Bond ever. I like him like you like Charlize Theron. (Well, maybe not quite as much. Ha!)
    I’ll get around to watching Atomic Blonde. I thought Salt was great and Hannah too. But La Femme Nikita has them all beat, IMHO, and it sets the bar incredibly high for female bad asses.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nothing touches Nikita, I agree, Pam. I didn’t watch ‘Salt’, as I don’t rate Angelina Jolie much.
      I don’t just like Charlize for her looks though, and think her ‘ugly’ performance in ‘Monster’ was her best yet. But she does look the part in ‘Atomic Blonde’, it has to be said. ๐Ÿ™‚ ‘Day Of The Jackal’ is a marvellous film, and a great adaptation of the book, but I wouldn’t call it a ‘spy’ film. I famously don’t like any James Bond films. None of them! I like Craig in ‘Layer Cake’, and lots of other roles too, as in ‘Love Is The Devil’, but I don’t care for any Bond film, whoever plays 007. I just think they are silly. Sorry.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you are right Pete. Day of the Jackal isn’t really a spy film–it’s more espionage, thriller, assassin. I kind of clump them into a generic spy genre, an incorrect clumping for sure. Ha!
        Speaking of Daniel Craig, (love Layer Cake, by the way–the ending, chilling) have you seen Enduring Love? I highly recommend it, though it has mixed reviews.
        Great review on Atomic Blonde, by the way.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lol…so I am thinking that you like Charlize? Lol. She was great in the new Mad Max too. I really am still hoping they are going to be making an new with her character Furiosa.
    This movie was alright. But I am just not a really big fan of spyfilms, so thatโ€™s probably the reason I did not enjoy it as much as other people did. Not withstanding that Charlize does look good…in anything. Great post Pete ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoyed ‘Tinker,Tailor, Soldier, Spy’, and ‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold’. Maybe the best spy film was the TV production of ‘An Englishman Abroad’, with Alan Bates. But I watched this for Charlize, as you worked out. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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