Charlize Theron Engulfs the Big Screen in “Atomic Blonde”

Release Date: July 28, 2017
Running Time: 1 hour and 55 minutes
Genre: Action-Thriller
Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity
Directed by David Leitch
Screenplay by Kurt Johnstad
Grade: B+

Truth Lies…People Like Us Don’t Know the Difference

Oscar® winner Charlize Theron engulfs the big screen this summer in a mind-blowing performance as an MI6 agent in Atomic Blonde.  Her portrayal of Agent Lorraine Broughton is mesmerizing. She endured months of rigorous training to play a woman that is proficient at hand to hand combat.  Charlize is one of my favorite actresses. I love the way she immerses herself into the character.  Her performance is infused with sensuality, suspense and ferocity.   Costume designer Cindy Evans should be recognized for fashioning Theron with a stunning wardrobe.

Emily Brockman assembled a star-studded cast that includes Golden Globe® winner John Goodman and James McAvoy.  Brockman is known for her work in Maleficent, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and The Legend of Tarzan.  Scottish actor McAvoy from the X-Men franchise, Split and Chronicles of Narnia continues to impress me with his acting prowess.

Fight Like A Girl

Atomic Blonde is set in November 1989, just days before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  It is cold and dreary and the cinematographer Jonathan Sela uses a color grading process to give the overall picture a cool tone that corresponds to the scenery.   

The art and production design teams, led by Zsuzsa Kismarty-Lechner and David Scheunemann, did a brilliant job creating sets and using colorful font styles to play against the shades of black and white in the opening credits.  I liked how they used a book on Machiavelli as a prop since both Theron and McAvoy’s characters are cunning, duplicitous and focus on personal gain and self-interest.

The screenplay adapted by Kurt Johnstad (Act of Valor and 300) from the graphic novel “The Coldest City” is suspenseful with complex plot twists.

Director David Leitch who is known more for his stunt work than directing abilities, captured me from the beginning with his choice of music.  I love the entire soundtrack so much that I will most likely purchase it.  If you grew up in the 80s, you will enjoy “Cat People” by David Bowie and “Major Tom” by Peter Schilling.   I was delighted that Leitch chose the German versions (not English) of “99 Luftballons” by Nena and “Der Kommissar” by After the Fire.  Outstanding!

Atomic Blonde is a fantastic edition to the summer slate of films. The film is rated R by MPAA for violence, which includes brutal and bloody fight scenes, language and an erotic nude scene.  ~ A.S. MacLeod  

Trust No One

Lorraine Broughton is a highly skilled MI6 agent who is an expert in escape and evasion. She is also proficient in intelligence collection and hand to hand combat. When a fellow operative is murdered and thrown into the river in Berlin, Lorraine is assigned to disable an espionage ring that is hunting down operatives during the Cold War and collapse of the Berlin Wall. With global superpowers shifting, MI6 is working with the CIA to find out who is hunting down their operatives from a secret list of double agents. Lorraine is sent to Berlin to work with the Berlin station chief, David Percival, and finds that his tenure in Berlin has caused him to be unstable and shady. She is concerned when she senses that he may be thwarting her efforts to get the list. Her suspicion is further enhanced when she learns that David has been manipulating a french agent who appears to be unprepared for the game that they are playing and when the evacuation of a German informant who has the list memorized goes horribly wrong. Secret meetings with espoinage ring leader, Aleksander Bremovych, also tip Lorraine off that David may not be trusted. As the Berlin Wall crumbles, time is running out for Lorraine to complete her mission but whose side is she really on?

Welcome to Berlin!

Atomic Blonde is a bombshell of an action mystery film! The extremely talented cast led by Academy Award winning Charlize Theron and James McAvoy blew me out of my seat. Based on Antony Johnston’s and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel “The Coldest City”, the story is intriguing, captivating, and loaded with unexpected plot twists. The screenplay writer, Kurt Johnstad, included a few cheesy lines but the talent of the cast was so impressive that I simply overlooked it. The well choreographed action scenes were captured by the director of photography, Jonathan Sela, who is known for John Wick, Law Abiding Citizen, and A Good Day to Die Hard. Even more impressive than the photography was the amount of time and lengths that Charlize Theron took to master the role. She spent five years developing the film, cracked two teeth during filming, and had 8 personal trainers to assist her accomplish the best action scenes that I have ever witnessed by a lead actress. After the most fulfilling ending, the audience applauded and comments were heard regarding the amazing soundtrack. The 1980’s tunes perfected matched each scenario and included favorite hits such as Cat People, 99 Luftballons, Major Tom, Father Figure, Voices Carry, I Ran (So Far Away), and Under Pressure. As a huge David Bowie fan, I especially appreciated the opening and closing with David Bowie. I firmly believe that this is the summer blockbuster that we’ve been waiting for. The experience is worth more than the price of admission, so get your ticket to ride this thrilling action-packed extravaganza of talent. Go see it! ~Movie Buffette  


Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton
James McAvoy as David Percival
Eddie Marson as Spyglass
John Goodman as Emmett Kurzfeld
Toby Jones as Eric Gray
James Faulkner as Chief ‘C’
Roland Moller as Aleksander Bremovych
Sofia Boutella as Delphine Lasalle
Bill Skarsgard as Merkel
Til Schweiger as Watchmaker

About Leigh Ann Rassler