‘Atomic Blonde’ Bombs


Story By: Marco Rosas, Reporter

“Atomic Blonde” is an espionage thriller set in 1989 Berlin; it has been described by some critics as the female John Wick, but not this critic.
“Atomic Blonde” does a lot of things well, but it is far from the exciting action movie of the year that it has been marketed to be.
Charlize Theron’s performance as super spy Lorraine Broughton is good, but her character never feels truly flushed out.
It feels as though one never truly gets a chance to know her character, which is arguably justified in a movie trying to be a mysterious thriller.
However, that is not the tone of the film– or at least it’s not the only tone throughout the film.
Some scenes feel like fun action sequences to very opportunely placed ‘80s tracks, while others feel like boring and unnecessarily lengthy exposition.
The back and forth shifts in tone throughout the movie make it hard for audience members to plug into the film and simply enjoy themselves.
The Berlin setting also does absolutely nothing for the film, it feels more like a backdrop or occasional plot device than an actual setting.
The distinction between places like England and Germany is virtually none, for a movie that can easily set and shift a tone atmosphere is somehow lost throughout the film.
Even throwing multiple agents into the fray does not help the movies atmosphere.
Sofia Boutella plays French Intelligence Agent Delphine, the film’s unnecessary love interest.
Boutella’s performance as a rookie agent over her head is good, but her over the top love scenes with Charlize Theron feel somewhat forced in the film.
Her character is never really given a chance to prove herself as an agent and is more or less a female plot device even in a movie with a female lead.

The film fails not only in breaking standing out as a spy film but also in creating an immersive atmosphere full of intriguing characters.
“Atomic Blonde” does create a sense of chaos through one character, MI6 Agent David Percival played by James McAvoy.
McAvoy does a phenomenal job of playing a cunning, opportunistic and unpredictable agent in the lawless city of Berlin.
McAvoy’s performance is one of the few exceptional parts of this film. His character’s motives are never completely clear, constantly tickling the audience’s curiosity.
Theron’s action scenes in the film’s second half are also particularly exciting and also offer a degree of believability.
Theron is not a one woman wrecking machine, she’s human, the belief that at any moment one of the giant bumbling henchman could knock her out is ever present.
When the hero or heroine can be hurt the stakes become higher and bring drama to the fight scenes.
Ultimately the twists and turns in the plot, the abrupt and odd shifts in tone throughout the film and uncharismatic protagonist bring this film down.
They outweigh the mostly on point soundtrack, fun action sequences and overall good performances.