Nardo Says ATOMIC BLONDE Is A Joy Ride Full Of Badassery.

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FILM REVIEW: ATOMIC BLONDE

BY JESSICA NARDO

 

In Hollywood, we see the transfer from actor to executive producer to director many times over. Angelina Jolie brought forth her insightful debuts and even Elizabeth Banks took on the leader position in the Pitch Perfect franchise she didn’t even start. So, what happens when a stunt man decides it’s time to get out of the flame retardant suit and take a seat in the most coveted chair? Atomic Blonde happens. David Leitch has been in the stunt business for years now and even took a stab in directing scenes in John Wick. This is his first solo credited directorial debut and now he is slated with being the captain at the helm for Deadpool 2. The man knows action when he sees it and it is seen all over Atomic Blonde. Set during the Cold War when Berlin’s wall was firm and up, we get a spy film that rings in some of the favorite facets in action thrillers but still with it’s flaws. The film is based off graphic novel “The Coldest City” by Antony Johnston and it keeps the dark elements of the times within it’s illustrations (created by Sam Hart). Although period pieces aren’t always my thing, something about the late 80s is refreshing to see on screen. However, there are moments within character development and story that could have been improved upon.

From the opening scene, we are jarred seeing a robed man running in the grey scaled cold and killed seemingly out of nowhere. This sets the tone for the “You think you know but you don’t” feeling through out the film. Like many spy movies, the story you see isn’t always the real story so, when you see Lorraine Broughton, played by the captivating Charlize Theron, enter an interrogation room with both MI6 & CIA, you already know this is going to go backwards. Among the setting, the soundtrack is absolutely enjoyable. It’s basically what Suicide Squad was trying to do but was clearly out smarted by the up play of eighties nostalgia. Each song was a superb background component to the up close and personal fighting sequences. I am surprised if the camera man did not get a black eye with the kind of tight frames we get to see in this movie. Theron has definitely become a go to action star with how well she looked doing those stunts which were her own as well. Also a major plus is when the 6 minute 4th act action scene has no music which was a great call to really intensify the ending. Not only did she look her best when getting down and dirty, but also when she cleaned up. I want to own every single piece of costume she wore. Major kudos to Cindy Evans for the design. The transitions from present to past time in the film were also done extremely well which means the editing and cinematography played off each other. Something that I feel is always lost on a spy thriller, it’s like they try so hard to throw the audience off the scent of the truth, that they end up losing them in some parts completely so this was a refreshing take.

With the aforementioned being said, there is some issues in the movie. For one, Sofia Boutella character of Delphine Lasalle has such a weak and odd introduction that although her character is important, the interaction falls flat. Even when it’s clear that she is there for a specific purpose, you don’t feel for the relationship she has with Lorraine. It’s sad to point out because James McAvoy had a just as odd introduction but it worked for him. The story also misses it’s mark with too much exposition. It did feel like there was a lot of time spent on just watching Lorraine stomping around Berlin in her boots (again, boots I wish to own but not ones I have to see over and over and over again). This happens when I feel that the director falls in too much love with the build up and not with the satisfaction of the middle or the ending. Almost like foreplay is more important than the movie itself. Also, for those of you not brushed up on your history, make sure you do a little research before seeing the movie. If not the meaning may be lost upon the audience, not because no one understands the Cold War but because it is significant to the end and the point of the movie.

Atomic Blonde is a great watch and joy ride of bad assery unlike the female lead spy movie predecessors. I am excited to see how Leitch is going to grow as a director and apply his mastery of action into whatever he touches. It’s also clear that Theron is becoming the chick needed to make strong female leads look rough and dirty but sleek and cool at the same time. Though not a Killer Queen, still worked well Under Pressure.

 

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