Atomic Blonde: Five Reasons You’ll Love It
Charlize Theron and James McAvoy head up David Leitch’s hotly anticipated Cold War thriller Atomic Blonde, which arrives in UK cinemas on Wednesday August 9th and pits an undercover British agent against an array of treacherous enemies in East Berlin.
The film will also be available to pre-order in our online store from Friday August 10th, but in the meantime we caught an early screening of the film and picked out five reasons why we think you’ll love it…
The plot will keep you guessing to the very end
Atomic Blonde chooses and uses its influences well, pulling together the intrigue and paranoia of John le Carré and the edgy style of the Harry Palmer films of the 1960s, all set in a Cold War-era Berlin that feels oppressive and chaotic. Much like a character from one of le Carré's novels, Theron’s British intelligence agent is on the hunt for a double agent in their ranks and everybody is under suspicion. The film sells its audience a few dummies and while the many plot twists mean you’ll need to keep your wits about you to follow the story, there are plenty of surprises and revelations throughout.
The fight choreography is straight out of the top drawer
Director David Leitch had a big hand in directing and coordinating the action on John Wick, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the many fights, rumbles and dust-ups on display here are all very skilfully executed. The film is packed with close-quarter, hand-to-hand battles that are well choreographed enough to allow long, one-shot sequences of brutal action, without the need for a flurry of quick edits or camera gimmicks, only throwing in the odd slow-mo sequence where it’s warranted. Your eyes will be glued to the screen.
James McAvoy is at his manic best
McAvoy has plenty of previous form portraying shady and unhinged characters, with some stunning performances in films like the Irvine Welsh adaptation Filth and M. Night Shyamalan's recent thriller Split, but the Scotsman is on top form here. McAvoy’s edge-of-the-rails performance as MI6’s station chief in Berlin is the perfect counterweight to Charlize Theron’s icy heroine, making for tense anti-chemistry between the pair.
The soundtrack is not only perfect for the era, but also really well considered
As you might imagine, Atomic Blonde’s soundtrack is packed with 80s classics that really help conjure up the atmosphere of the era, with songs by the likes of David Bowie, Duran Duran, Public Enemy and Depeche Mode all featuring, but there are also some clever uses of these too. Recurring tunes such as New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ and Nena’s ‘99 Red Balloons’ are unravelled and reworked, mimicking the collapsing situation in Berlin and adding an interesting twist to an already superb soundtrack.
It’s one of the most stylish espionage thrillers in years
In a genre that has been largely dominated with male protagonists since time immemorial, Charlize Theron’s ice-cold MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton is a breath of fresh air and, like everything else in Atomic Blonde, she is sharp, stylish and utterly magnetic. The timing and setting of the film, in 1989 East Berlin just days before the wall came down, is one of the reasons the film manages, for the most part, to avoid the well-worn cliché of heroic westerners and pesky Russians; the collapsing political situation means that the lines between allies and enemies have blurred, with everyone out for themselves, and while that does make it a little hard to find somebody to root for, it also makes the film’s narrative a lot less easy to predict.
Aesthetically speaking, the film’s drained colours, kinetic cinematography and brilliant soundtrack make Atomic Blonde a real feast for the senses. You can find a trailer below...
Atomic Blonde is in cinemas now, you can also pre-order the film here in our online store.