Review: Atomic Blonde (No Spoilers)

By Angel

Movie Description: “An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.”

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Story

The opening did a great job at capturing my attention because it starts off with a man running from something and ultimately being killed by a KGB officer. We learn that the KGB officer kills this undercover MI6 agent to obtain a list that contains the names of every double agent in Berlin. During this sequence, the tone and atmosphere of this espionage world is established with the stylish colors, sweet 1980’s soundtrack, and brutal action. I loved every single one of those aspects of the movie because they were perfectly executed, except I had an issue with the plot which I felt was too intricate.

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We get introduced to the main antagonist who is also MI6 and she is debriefed about the events after the death of her fellow agent. There are several conflicts in the film; overcoming the debriefing, revenge for her fellow agent, trusting other characters, and obtaining the list. I wasn’t really connected to the main character taking action to solve these issues. Some characters were captivating because I wanted to know more about them, but once the betrayals were presented, that’s when I felt the narrative was hard to follow. It just felt more complicated then it had to be and maybe a second viewing would be better.

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Performances

Charlize Theron steals the show as she convinced me with her character that she had the ability to fight with rage and speak with an English accent. She commands the screen with the emotional depth she delivers. The seemingly unbroken shot stairway scene was the best part of the movie and it wouldn’t have been the same without her. What can’t this actress do?!

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James McAvoy is just superb in anything he’s in, especially in his previous film Split. The amount of commitment he brought to that challenging role did not deteriorate with this character. He plays a British station chief in Berlin who loves and hates the whole espionage game. McAvoy had to convince me with his character that he was riddled with drug abuse and self-consumption, which he did excellently.

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As for the rest of the cast, they did really good, but they were mostly sitting behind desks or fighting Charlize.

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Cinematography

To me, great cinematography is when the visuals are contributing to the storytelling. A film should SHOW us what’s going on rather than tell us. When it comes to analyzing cinematography, simply, I ask myself, “Was this film nice to look at?” Then I can choose to get in depth and look for whether colors were symbolic, placement of characters in the frame, composition, lighting, shadows, and point of view.

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Was Atomic blonde a nice film to look at…definitely! I loved the neon lighting, especially how they used the colors red and blue. It can be interpreted that whenever we see the protagonist lit in blue, then that’s how she wants to be perceived by the world. When we see the protagonist lit in red, that’s what pierces through her disguise and reveals her true vicious self. The camera work is really impressive, especially considering the way they shot the stunts.

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Music

Hell yea the music ROCKED! Sometimes it felt out of place, but still, listening to great music isn’t worth a complaint.

Message:

The lesson I got from Atomic Blonde: Don’t force yourself to choose a darker path, there’s double pleasure in deceiving the deceiver, and don’t offer trust easily.

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Overall:

Atomic Blonde delivers on style, music, performances, and action that is worth watching on the big screen. There is a lot going on with the plot and when it comes to why the characters decide to make the choices they do so it requires more attention, maybe it was just me, it just felt more complex than it had to be. 8/10

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Grade: B

 

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