Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch, one half of the directors that brought us the first John Wick film starring Keanu Reeves and Atomic Blonde follows the similar pattern.
Charlize Theron is Lorraine Broughton, a top-ranked spy in 1989 that is assigned to recover a list of important figures that has been publically released. With the help of James McAvoy, Broughton is also tasked with protecting certain people while she tells her story in an interrogation room.
Essentially, Atomic Blonde is the standard spy thriller that is to be expected, this one being boasted by super-stylized action and solid performances despite a rocky narrative.
Charlize Theron is excellent in this role, being the reserved, but hard-hitting protagonist. She trained to do her own stunts in her action set pieces and the character comes off very stealthy, smart, and without question, badass. Imagine James Bond as a woman.
James McAvoy, once again, delivers another entertaining performance as a strange Berlin police chief and subsequently partner to Theron’s character. McAvoy is still one of the most consistently impeccable actors in recent memory, not one lacking performance yet.
Since the director is the same man to helm the first John Wick film, his unique style of filmmaking clearly transitioned into this movie as well. Atomic Blonde is gorgeously shot with terrific action that is captured steady, not shaky in the slightest, and above all else, exciting.
What really takes Atomic Blonde down a couple of pegs though is the storytelling narrative. As mentioned, Theron’s character is practically in an interrogation room throughout the whole film to tell the story we, as an audience, are watching. Which means we’re essentially watching flashbacks of what happened to her character.
A lot of films and shows do this kind of storytelling, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Atomic Blonde‘s flashbacks and forwards don’t mesh since every time after an enticing sequence of events happen ―whether in dialogue or action ―the story flash forwards to the interrogation room where everything about it just comes off as boring.
The pacing of this flashbacking narration bogged down the story, slowing it down on multiple occasions that took myself out of the film’s exciting action as a whole.
Atomic Blonde is everything you would expect coming from the director of John Wick, but a little less in terms of storytelling. Despite the film’s extremely well-shot choreographed fight sequences and entertaining performances from its leads, the lack of focus on the story that does matter isn’t fully realized like it could have been.
I’m going to give Atomic Blonde a “C+” on the movie grading scale. While by no means a bad movie, I’m still pulling for David Leitch to give us the best possible Deadpool 2 next year in June.
As always, thanks so much for reading and make sure to stay posted to Frank’s Takes for more reviews. Until next time, keep it 100.