Atomic Blonde– 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Atomic Blonde – 3.5/5 – In a world littered with action films, one must find a way to stand out.  Through a bold vision and creative writing, it can be something different from the norm.  Adapted from a graphic novel, Atomic Blonde is an action inspired tale that infuses distinct style with multiple genres.  Even if the film gets bogged down by unwanted material, Atomic Blonde is an experience that provides a different spin to the genre.

Premise:  When an undercover MI6 is sent to Berlin to uncover a murder, a spiral into a web of conspiracies and treachery leads to the unmasking of a double agent.

The acting is decent across the board.  With the added element of hyper-stylistic representation, the actors/actresses produce individuals that are colorful on a realistic scale.  In the main role of Lorraine Broughton is actresses Charlize Theron.  Commanding the screen through her own suave and grace, she does a wonderful job providing power in the femme fatale persona.  Giving indifference to the clichés, she stands out by physical prowess, subtle dialogue and raw choreograph fights.  Even with a lack of background development, it is amazing to see Theron bring true charm to the big screen.  The secondary characters do a decent job in providing additional levels of color for the surrounding environment.  For a list of the actors/actresses involved, please refer to the film’s IMDb page.  The big names (James McAvoy, John Goodman, Sofia Boutella) dance that tight rope in providing delicate brevity to their generic characters.  They are able to push the archetypes of this genre and unfold them with distinct individualistic pursuits.  Even with a lack of background, you still see the purpose in the secondary characters.

The direction unfolds in two halves.  Mixing in elements of espionage, hyper stylization and gritty action, you get a unique story constructed around a general outline.  At the start, you notice there is no coherency in the common ‘who, what are why’ scenarios when introduced to the main character and plot.  We are brought into the world through a series of flashbacks marked with the ‘interrogation’ technique.  You are given some form of a plot through subtle ‘hints’ when we are on Lorraine’s mission in Berlin.  After this generic setup, the unfolding ‘flashbacks’ are constructed in a convoluted fashion.  The only thing that is centralized is the retrieval of a certain item (the McGuffin plot device).  From this, it triggers an unfolding madness of multiple spies interacting at various points in Berlin.  The bulk of the story is a mixture of elusive dialogue, forced exposition, gritty choregraph set-piece and the common spy twist trope.  Through the dialogue that is esthetic, witty and very imposing, you never know the true intention of any of the spies (included in the main character).  The constant twists and over-abundance on heavy dialogue drags the first halve, causing unimportant subplots in the general ‘spy tale’ to turn the main storyline into something predictable.  Having no clarity hurts the hype stylized perspective and turns most of the film into an over-the-top cartoonish picture.  Before the evolving story would fall off the cliff, a certain action set piece that leads us into the second act brings everything back that was fun to the forefront.  From this point, the film turns into the promising allure of its style.  Pressed against spy and action elements, this provides a window of oddities that is ironically amusing.  As the main character comes back to the forefront, the action is turned up.  This leads to that ‘edge of your seat’ kind of ride.  The unfolding truth associated with the ‘item’ begins to rear its head in an unpredictable way.  Once we get to the climax, it is epic showdown within an unexpected moment.  As the film rolls into its epilogue, you are relieved the film can end on a high note.

The visual props up the whole experience.  With a mixture of grainy texture, dark lighting and hyper stylized colors focused on the props and attire, you are drawn and enraptured by this world of spies.  The cinematography keeps you engrossed with its detail of each character and the city of Berlin.  The score is another great element.  The infusion of the 80’s culture and resounding instruments creates the heavy mood that imposes strength.  This helps elevate the action, visuals and characters.

Atomic Blonde may muddle at the start, but with great style, amazing characters and raw/gritty action, it is an action film full of enjoyment.  If you’re a fan of spies, action or like something different, this is one for you. It is worth seeing at the theaters.

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