Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Leitch|
|Screenplay by||Kurt Johnstad|
The Coldest City
|Music by||Tyler Bates|
|Edited by||Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir|
|Distributed by||Focus Features|
|Box office||$46.8 million|
Atomic Blonde is a 2017 American action spy thriller film directed by David Leitch, in his first solo directorial credit, and written by Kurt Johnstad. It is based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City, published by Oni Press, which revolves around a spy who has to find a list of double agents who are being smuggled into the West, on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The film stars Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, with John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones in supporting roles.
Atomic Blonde had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 12, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on July 28, 2017, by Focus Features. It has grossed $46 million worldwide, and received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its action sequences, Theron’s performance, and the musical score by Tyler Bates, although some criticized the writing and pacing; many have compared the film to John Wick.
In 1989, on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, MI6 agent James Gasciogne is shot and killed by KGB agent Yuri Bakhtin, who steals the List, a piece of microfilm concealed in a wristwatch that contains the names of every active field agent in the Soviet Union. Ten days later, Lorraine Broughton, a top-level spy for MI6, is brought in to be interrogated by MI6 executive Eric Gray and CIA agent Emmett Kurzfeld about her mission to Berlin.
The day after Gasciogne’s death, Lorraine is dispatched to Berlin to recover the List and assassinate Satchel, a double agent who has sold intelligence to the Soviets for years and who betrayed Gasciogne. When she arrives in Berlin, she is immediately ambushed by KGB agents working for arms dealer and KGB associate Aleksander Bremovych. Lorraine then meets with her main contact, agent David Percival. After failing to find any immediate leads, Lorraine investigates Gasciogne’s apartment and discovers a picture of him and Percival, and is then ambushed by the Volkspolizei. She realizes only Percival knew she was going to the apartment, and begins to suspect him of being Satchel. Lorraine also encounters Delphine Lasalle, a naive French agent, and enters into a relationship with her.
Bakhtin declares his intention to sell the List to the highest bidder. Percival, having been tipped off, kills him and takes the List for himself. He then meets with Bremovych to arrange the transfer of the List to him, which Lasalle photographs. Percival offers to escort the defector who stole and memorized the List, a Stasi officer codenamed Spyglass, and his family across the border to West Berlin.
- Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton, a top-level MI6 field agent.
- James McAvoy as David Percival, an eccentric Berlin station chief who becomes an ally of Broughton.
- John Goodman as Emmett Kurzfeld, a CIA agent working with MI6.
- Til Schweiger as The Watchmaker, a mysterious ally of MI6 who creates and crafts clocks and watches.
- Eddie Marsan as Spyglass, a Stasi defector who stole the List.
- Sofia Boutella as Delphine Lasalle, an undercover French agent who becomes Lorraine’s lover.
- Toby Jones as Eric Gray, Broughton’s MI6 superior.
- Bill Skarsgård as Merkel, Broughton’s MI6 mission assistant.
- Sam Hargrave as James Gasciogne, a deceased MI6 agent who was close to Lorraine.
- James Faulkner as Chief C, head of MI6.
- Roland Møller as Aleksander Bremovych, a ruthless Russian-German billionaire arms dealer who leads an espionage ring.
Atomic Blonde was a pretty solid movie. It has been compared to James Bond, and John Wick. To me those comparisons are a stretch, not saying that it wasn’t as entertaining as an old Bond flick, or John Wick, but this movie had noticeable lags in the flow, and no great super villain. It takes place before (or as) the Berlin Wall is coming down, and that in itself costs the movie some of its intensity. There is no “end of the world” impending doom to drive the plot. If our girl fails, the wall is still going to fall, and the agents who were working around it would be obsolete to the world anyway. That being said, the action sequences were pretty good, save for the fact that the goons our girl was kicking around out weighed her by three times or more, and the physics just wasn’t realistic. The plot twist, or should I say double plot twist at the end was brilliant, and after the movie half the people in the theater were scratching their heads, but I got it, and I can see a sequel or two coming. All in all I’d say this movie is worth the price of a premium ticket. An entertaining 4 star femme fatale flick. -MR