Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is an elite spy working in MI6 during the Cold War. Following the murder of a fellow agent, she is sent to Berlin to retrieve a valuable dossier containing sensitive information but soon finds herself at the centre of a ring of double agents.

Based on the graphic novel The Coldest CityAtomic Blonde follows talented British MI6 agent Lorraine (Theron) as she enters into Berlin. With the fall of the Wall imminent, Lorraine must navigate her way through an underground world of espionage to recover a delicate strip of film containing sensitive information that could trigger World War III. It is here that she meets MI6 station chief, David Percival, (James McAvoy) – whom has an agenda of his own.

Set in 1989 and neon-soaked from start to finish, it’s safe to say that Atomic Blonde is very much open for the ‘style over substance’ debate. The narrative itself is not particularly complexing but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of bombarding us with unnecessary information and dialogue, senior agents Eric Gray and Emmett Kurzfeld (Toby Jones and John Goodman) chime in along the way; keeping us up to speed as Lorraine recalls the events in a recorded interview. Though the majority of the plot is quite predictable and somewhat washed over, it is best not to delve too deep in to the plot. Focus instead on the cinematography and action sequences which make it so worthwhile.

With the KGB waiting for Lorraine the moment she lands, audiences are thrust in to the action from the very get go. Thankfully, stuntman turned director, David Leitch, handles all action scenes with the precision it deserves. Having also co-directed John Wick (2014), the stunts are brilliantly choreographed and, ultimately, become the centrepiece of the film. From long shots to car chases, they are at times breathtaking and utterly brutal. However, whilst Lorraine’s opponents are all males, it never feels as though she is at a disadvantage – using her skills and everyday objects around her as deadly weapons; be them hotplates or garden hoses. Whilst she obviously takes plenty of blows herself, even sporting quite the black eye in the opening scenes, Lorraine entirely holds her own throughout and we root for her.

Theron gives a mesmerising performance as Lorraine who is a unique and refreshing female protagonist. However, despite her leading role and stunning appearance, the character does not encourage a great deal of empathy. With next to no particular backstory or character development, she is arguably portrayed as coldhearted; dousing herself in ice baths and shielding her eyes behind thick sunglasses. Unlike John Wick, she is not out for revenge or redemption. No – Lorraine just has a job to do. This is not to say that Lorraine doesn’t have any regrets but she moves on quickly from her emotions and keeps to the job at hand.

Though an ambitious project for both Leitch and Theron (as executive producer), Atomic Blonde is beautiful brutal and very enjoyable. Combined with a fantastic lead performance and wonderful action scenes, it is a worthy opponent for Bond and three times as edgy. Forget plot, this is all about style and visuals.

Movie Review: Atomic Blonde
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Sophie Elizabeth

Sophie is a film blogger from South London with a degree in Film Theory and Major Production. Sophie currently works in digital marketing but in her spare time you'll find her writing reviews or at the cinema. Sophie loves all things Star Wars and Hollywood but having specialized in the Horror genre, monsters are her first love. She'll watch absolutely anything given the chance - you can find her also on her blog, http://www.popcornandglitter.co.uk Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophieathawes