Atomic Blonde (2017)

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Based on the graphic novel ‘The Coldest City’, this Cold War action thriller is engaging and entertaining and only occasionally lacks pace and plausibility. Charlize Theron is Lorraine Broughton, the atomic blonde of the title with a shock of white hair and the epitome of sangfroid. She’s an MI6 agent and is sent to Berlin to investigate the assassination of fellow agent and former lover James Gascoigne (Sam Hargrave). Structured as a series of flashbacks as she reports in the aftermath to both MI6 and CIA bosses (Toby Jones and John Goodman), we see Lorraine tangle with renegade MI6 agent David Percival (James McAvoy) and French agent Delphine (Sophia Boutella).

The story arc is as you’d expect – twists and turns, double crosses and double agents, fight scenes and car chases. What sets it apart is the relatively realistic violence as Theron beats up all the baddies. You sense her effort and the visceral and exhausting damage. According to trivia, Theron had eight personal trainers to teach her the moves and the fights were choreographed so each move was something a person of her size and weight could feasibly do. It works, although it makes it a bit gruesome and hard to watch.

It’s not all completely believable – bullets that don’t find their mark, agents who seem blasé about their safety – but it kept me watching until the end. And Theron is a compelling heroine.Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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