HOLLYWOOD—When most people think about a spy, James Bond automatically comes to mind, but what if I told you that “Atomic Blonde” takes the notion of the spy genre and turns it on its head a bit? Most people would be skeptical and so was I, but “Atomic Blonde” does offer some different for moviegoers. First off, we’re not dealing with some British, suave gentleman who has a ton of high-tech gadgets to get him out of the stickiest situations.
The focus this time is on an American, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), who is a top level MI6 field agent who is after an important List, that contains the list of every active field agent in the Soviet Union. I will argue that at first I found this narrative point to be slightly lackluster. It’s not as enthralling as one would hope it to be to fuel a film that runs nearly 2 hours. Another point of contention is the narrative isn’t told in chronological order; it’s told in reverse, but at the same time we jump back to the present on occasion to tie up potential loose ends for the viewer.
There are a few scene stealing moments by John Goodman and Toby Jones who portray superiors overseeing Lorraine’s mission, but for such high caliber actors I wish there was quite more for them to do beyond just sit in a room and interrogate Lorraine about her botched mission. “Atomic Blonde” does a decent job of keeping the audience wondering WHO Lorraine can actually trust. When we first meet her it’s evident from her fighting skills, she has to keep her guard up at all times. So when she meets David Percival (James McAvoy), in a darker role, she keeps her guard up. For those who don’t know much about the Berlin Wall, that is a major plot point, with this movie taking place in the 1980s people. Yes, very intriguing as I was certain this was a flick based on the trailer that would take place in the present. It might be a departure for some, but I found this rather fun. You don’t have to worry about entangling modern technology into the narrative. I mean no cellphones, no computers, and no social media that sounds like a winner if you ask me.
“Atomic Blonde” does its best to carve itself into a unique niche of the spy genre, by pushing the boundaries. I mean we have lesbian love scenes, brutal fight sequences, car chases, epic gun battles and vernacular that most parents wouldn’t want their kids hearing. It’s fun, but it’s not something that screams one of a kind. The biggest issue this film suffers from is its pacing. Its starts off way too slow and by the time that it reaches that point where the narrative sutures you end things begin to wrap up.
This is an entertaining movie, but don’t enter the theater expected to see something that you have never seen. “Atomic Blonde” is a departure from what we’re used to seeing on the big screen, but it’s no game-changer in my opinion.