Take yourself back to 1989. The fall of the Berlin Wall is imminent, but in this movie, the historic event simply serves as the backdrop for one of the most compelling action thrillers of the modern day, with MI6 Agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) taking centre-stage. Covered in bruises and immersed in a bathtub from the first moment we see her, it becomes clear from the get-go that she’s somebody who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. It’s also quickly obvious that Agent Broughton has landed herself in trouble with the very authorities she works for. Something big happened in Berlin, and she’s going to explain exactly what that was in a series of flashbacks.
Over 115 minutes, viewers are caught up in the tangled web of underground politics, as agents working on the behalf of their respective governments cross one another to reach their ultimate goal; getting their hands on an extremely valuable list which could flip the entire world on its head. It’s not just governments that want the list however, as crooks realise the value of the asset and, as if that wasn’t enough for Agent Broughton, she’s also tasked with bringing back a double crossing agent known only to authorities as Satchel – dead or alive.
She’s got a strange array of tools are her disposal, and is willing to take down those who oppose her in any fashion necessary, including using her red stiletto to knock out an adversary whilst fighting in a moving vehicle.
Forced to work alongside James McAvoy’s David Percival on her Berlin mission, Agent Broughton is instantly suspicious of him and anybody else who comes into her line of sight, or looks at her with an odd glance. McAvoy excels in the role, bringing the character’s arrogant yet persistent nature right to the forefront from the moment he appears.
Theron goes one better. She IS Agent Broughton. You’re brought right in from the second you see her and forget that what you’re watching is a work of fiction. If the actress walked into my home today, I’d probably cower behind a sofa and ask what I could help her with. Theron is THAT GOOD.
The fight sequences scattered throughout Atomic Blonde are without a doubt some of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. The stunt performers and choreographers here deserve an immense amount of credit for putting on one heck of a show, along with the movie’s director David Leitch (who also co-directed John Wick – go figure).
A late 80s soundtrack provides music of the time, with late figures such as George Michael and Freddie Mercury’s unique and instantly-recognisable vocals layered perfectly across intense and mesmerising sequences. Every part in the process of building this film seems to have gone through the works to ensure addictive viewing, and it’s something audiences will be thankful for. Rarely these days are there films such as this one which manage to retain audience attention at all times.
There’s never a moment in Atomic Blonde where you’ll want to fiddle with your phone and take your eyes off the screen; the story keeps you firmly planted in your chair throughout, reaching a crescendo of an ending with all sorts of reveals and one moment in particular which should leave viewers picking their jaws up off the floor. Definitely worth a watch and hopefully a film that can spawn a bigger franchise off its back. Theron’s Agent Broughton would excel in a number of movies, and that’s something we really hope happens further down the line.
Atomic Blonde is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download.