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FILM REVIEW Atomic Blonde
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2017-07-30

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Director: David Leitch. Starring Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman. Time: 115 minutes Currently in wide release

Atomic Blonde is a heavily stylized action picture that is based on the Oni Press graphic-novel series The Coldest City. Charlize Theron stars as Lorraine Broughton, an undercover M16 agent investigating a murder in Berlin during the Cold War.

The story is mainly told in a flashback form while she is being interrogated by John Goodman and Toby Jones in a room. While the plot can be a bit confusing with this back-and-forth technique, Theron holds it together with gusto. Her accent is pitch-perfect, and the camera obviously loves her. She morphs into the part harkening back to Monster and, most recently, Mad Max: Fury Road.

James McAvoy attempts to steal the picture, but to no avail. Theron grabs the lasso and will not let go. This year is quickly turning into the year of the wonder women, including directors such as Kathryn Bigelow ( for Detroit ) and Patty Jenkins ( for Wonder Woman ) getting their due. Atomic Blonde director David Leitch wisely left the John Wick franchise to tackle this movie and it is a smart vehicle for Theron to pick, also.

The fight scenes are both graphic and spectacular. They are played realistically, and are not for the easily squeamish. Theron takes a beating and keeps on kicking. The blonde wig must have been a godsend for a stunt double in the bloody fight scenes. Being a dancer must have come in handy for these heavily choreographed action sequences when the real Theron was actually there.

Sofia Boutella wrapped up The Mummy and now plays Broughton's French lover Delphine Lasalle. She is the Robin to Theron's Batman. The character was originally a male, but the writer for the film, Kurt Johnstad, decided to gender flip the role, and Theron approved. The sex scenes are a little quick and easy, but a good step in the right direction for typical straight Hollywood, just more Bond than Bound.

There is a lot of smoking and '80s music in the two-hour film. The cinematography, sound and lighting could all be up for awards during Oscar time. With so many successful superhero movies, War for the Planet of the Apes and Baby Driver, we will see how that pans out.

A sequel is most likely going to happen. Maybe Blondie's Debbie Harry can play a Dirty Harry mom for Theron the next time.


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