David Leitch’s ATOMIC BLONDE
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
There’s much to like about this movie: Charlize Theron, well-integrated late-1980s pop culture and electronics, and wonderfully choreographed action scenes.
What pulls the movie down from great heights, unfortunately, is the story, a mix of spy-vs-counterspy clichés. These clichés almost had me asleep during the first third of the movie but, once things get going, they really get going. The seven-minute staircase fight, in my opinion, is one of the great movie fight scenes ever filmed.
The overall look of the film is unique. Color and lighting shift constantly from bright and garish to cold and frigid; Jonathan Sela’s cinematography is exceptional. (Sela also directed photography on John Wick.)
It's also nice to see a Eurocentric film built around the time the Berlin Wall fell. We have a token oafish American (John Goodman’s CIA chief) but the director wisely eschews standard-issue anti-Americanism.
ATOMIC BLONDE, when all is said and done, totally revolves around Theron’s master spy. She lends an icy credibility to her character and her character’s actions that raise the level of this movie way beyond its East versus West Cold War roots. Recommended!
Review copyright © 2017 by Dennis D. McDonald