Atomic Blonde

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Rated: MA 15+Atomic Blonde

Directed by: David Leitch

Produced by: Eric Gitter, Peter Schwerin, Kelly McCormick, Charlize Theron, A. J. Dix and Beth Kono.

Based on the Oni Press Graphic Novel Series: ‘The Coldest City’, Written by Antony Johnston and Illustrated by Sam Hart

Screenplay by: Kurt Johnstad

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones.

Based on the Oni Press Graphic Novel Series, The Coldest City, Atomic Blonde was cold alright, with Lorrain Broughton (Charlize Theron) a killing machine breed out of MI6 to seek out the assassinator of a spy, who stole a list of all the identities of Western agents operating in Berlin, behind The Iron Curtain, circa 1989.

Atomic Blonde is a spy/action movie set in the 80s like I’ve never seen before.  So 80s it took a while for the movie to get over itself and get to the meat of the story.

After a failed attempt on her life when landing in Berlin, Broughton makes contact with Station Chief, David Percival (James McAvoy) – an operative who’s been unmonitored for years; king of the castle, he does as he likes.  Percival’s gone feral.Atomic Blonde

And the closer Broughton gets to finding the list, the more complicated the journey.

It’s a familiar story: spies, betrayal, seduction and deception, but shown in a different way – the 80s flavour of fluorescent paint mixed with the noir persona of Broughton, like the film was trying to establish itself with bright saturated colour against a mute cold character.

I felt the reliance on the early fight scenes heavy until I witnessed a seamless montage of smacking, spraying blood and keys left dangling, impaled in a bad-guy’s cheek: AKA gritty fisticuffs that legitimized the film from something that was trying-out 80s noir for size, into a sit-up and take-me-serious action movie.Atomic Blonde

I like a film that explores a different vibe and no other actor could have achieved the feminine brutality of Broughton like Theron.  Every single fight scene in the film is Theron, hence that seamless raw feel.

Angelina Jolie also played the seductive spy in, Salt (2010), but Theron has stepped up and brought a brute coldness to this role.  The sensual was there with some steamy scenes with French operative, Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella, who you’ll remember from the recent film, The Mummy (2017)).  But what I really believed was the brute force of Broughton’s nature.

And Atomic Blonde is all about Broughton.  There’s only a hint of belly to humanise the character, the rest is all action –  a hallmark of director David Leitch being a stunt man himself and directing the highly successful, John Wick (2014).  He likes his characters dry and unrelenting.  And Theron was perfect for the role.

Atomic Blonde twists the classic noir genre into something else; for me, the action was the highlight.


GoMovieReviews Rating:


Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Writer: M. Night Shyamalan

Producer: M. Night Shyamalan, Jason Blum, Marc Bienstock

Executive Producer: Steven Schneider, Ashwin Rajan, Kevin Frakes

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula

Director and writer M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), The Visit (2015)) is back with his unique, sometimes tongue-in-cheek style of horror thriller, this time featuring Kevin (James McAvoy): a man suffering (or is he suffering?) from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder).

After the kidnapping of three young girls, the audience is given a taste of the 23 different personalities inhabiting Kevin’s body.

Shyamalan together with clever camera angles (from cinematographer Mike Gioulakis) use the change in personality to amp up the horror the kidnapped girls experience when they realise their captor is using completely different voices to have a conversation, with himself.

It’s Kevin’s psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Feltcher (Betty Buckley) who speculates whether DID caused through trauma is a weakness or a strength.  And whether the Split is a way of tapping into the plasticity of the brain, creating pathways into parts unknown.

An interesting premise and the main thrust of the film.


Shyamalan really takes the idea of tapping into the power of the mind as far as he can. The result being a thought-provoking horror with a bit of dark humour thrown in the mix.

Thankfully, the few snorts of laughter I had were meant to be provoked, but jeez, there’s a real push of that suspension of belief, the suspension achieved through the believable and truly phenomenal performance of James McAvoy as all those differing personalities.

McAvoy’s great at those parts that require equal measures of
nice guy versus evil.  I kept thinking back to the character from the film: Trance (2013), another thriller that delves into the mind.

And Anya Taylor-Joy was well-cast as the, well, out-cast, Casey Cook.  Anya looks different here, compared to her unforgettable performance in, The Witch (2015), but you can’t miss those sanpaku eyes…

I think people will either swallow the story and enjoy the film, or they won’t.  There’s certainly a unique flavour here.

I liked the exploration into the realm of neuroscience, the idea that thought and belief can change the organic.  To make imagination into reality.  And I enjoyed the interaction between the personalities of Kevin and Dr. Karen Feltcher, the sessions giving much needed authenticity through the grounding dialogue.

However, I found myself wanting to get sucked in then jolted out of the film with that weird sense of humour that’s all Shyamalan.

SPLIT is something different to watch, that reaches for those edges. And if you don’t mind a bit of weird you’ll be rewarded with a unique story well executed.

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