This year women have been dominating the big screen in films such as Wonder Woman, Killing Ground, and Raw. With that said, we were long overdue for a film to come out that would rival the fandom that surrounds the James Bond movies. In David Leitch's latest film, ATOMIC BLONDE, we may have found our female Bond in the form of Charlize Theron's character, Lorraine Broughton, and it truly is everything we could hope for and more.
ATOMIC BLONDE, which is directed by David Leitch (co-director of John Wick), has an all star cast that includes Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, and Toby Jones. The film takes place in 1989 during the Cold War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, where Theron's charracter Lorraine, an undercover M16 agent, is sent to investigate the death of a fellow agent and recover a list that could expose a number of double agents.
First and foremost lets start with the acting. I've been a fan of Theron for awhile, but sometimes her films can be hit or miss. Earlier this year she was in the latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise and I have to admit, I wasn't a fan. However, in ATOMIC BLONDE, she proves how fearless and unforgiving she can be as a secret agent who is clearly much more than what people perceive. Her character is a woman that doesn't take shit from anyone and doesn't need a man to help her when she's in a deadly situation. Her character is the epitome of strength, power, and femininity, who also has no problem kicking anyone's ass while wearing the most stylish of apparels.
James McAvoy, who plays agent David Percival, is just as captivating on screen as Theron. I feel like McAvoy doesn't get the attention he deserves in a lot of his role which is a shame because he is extremely talented. Lorraine is sent to Berlin to work with Percival in uncovering the highly desirable list that will expose agents that are working both sides; however, in a film such as this, working together is not really an option either one wants to jump head first in. Lastly, I loved seeing Bill Skarsgard, who plays Merkel, in the film as I've been a fan of his since his stint on "Hemlock Grove" and I can't wait to see him in the upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King's It. His role isn't big in ATOMIC BLONDE but it was still a nice surprise whenever he was on screen.
In terms of action, ATOMIC BLONDE is chalk full of them. I would even go so far as to say it was some of the best action sequences I've seen as of late. Though many people have already remarked upon the following, I would be remiss if I didn't bring it up. There is an 8 minute continuous shot fight scene between Lorraine and members of the KGB located within a staircase of an apartment complex that will blow audiences minds away. I don't know what type of movie magic they used to achieve that scene without any cuts or edits but the result is seamlessly done. That alone pays for the cost of admission because it's unlike anything else audiences will see this year in an action film.
My only criticism with the film would be in regards to the story. It's not that I found it to be lacking anything per say, I just thought it was a bit convoluted. There were a lot of moving pieces which resulted in many of us being confused as to what exactly was going on and who was really who. Granted, with a film such as this, there needs to be an element of surprise and there definitely was, but I don't think it needed to be as complex as it ended up being. I also felt the length of the movie caused there to be some moments which lagged longer than necessary.
Overall, ATOMIC BLONDE is the summer hit we all need and the female Bond we all deserve. The amazing fight scenes combined with the neon color, fantastic 80s soundtrack, and superb acting makes this one of the most refreshing films of the year. If you are a fan of films like John Wick then you'll want to make sure you see ATOMIC BLONDE when it's released in theaters on Friday, July 28.