Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Atomic Blonde: Monday, August 7 2017

Atomic Blonde, starring Charlize Theron, is pure entertainment. It's an action, spy thriller, directed by David Leitch. Based on a graphic novel, The Coldest City (2012), by Sam Hart, the screen play is written by Kurt Johnstad. It is set in Berlin during the collapse of the Berlin Wall (1989), and the beginning of the end of the Cold War. Exciting times, and Charlize Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, a top-level M16 field agent, sent into Berlin on an exciting mission. She is good at her job, which includes being able to fight and shoot the bad guys. This she does, to great effect. The film opens with a shot of Lorraine in the bath, but when we see her back, we also see the muscles rippling across it. This is an unusual woman! It would also be unusual for many men, too.

There is everything we expect: the twists in the plot; the exciting chases; and fantastic fights. I loved it when Lorraine went to work beating up the bad guys who were trying to kill or capture her. This she did dressed beautifully, with hardly a hair out of place, and in the highest of high heels. Loving the martial arts, I was with her during every blow. Go for it, girl! Fantastic! All those weak, little women who cowered in corners during times of crisis have always irritated me intensely. Like James Bond, 007, she can take care of herself, and look so good doing it.

In the movie, everyone is smoking nicotine cigarettes and drinking alcohol, including Lorraine. This is the 1980s, after all, and the bans on smoking in public places were not in effect. The myth was still in place that real men smoked and drank to excess. Lorraine was part of that myth. She has a brief affair with Delphine Lasalle, played by Sofia Boutella. Another male myth, exemplified by James Bond, 007. The one time Lorraine weeps is when she learns that Delphine has been shot dead.

Ten days after Lorraine is sent into Berlin, she is back in London accounting for what has happened. Her face has changed from the beautiful woman who went off, to one who is now recovering from a black eye and bruises from those fights: the experience has left its toll, and it shows. In spite of her efforts she didn't find the document she was after. Disappointment all around, and case closed by the British Intelligence M16.

The film ends with Lorraine on a plane, flying to the States with Emmett Kursfeld, the CIA agent working with M16, played by John Goodman. We now know who is Satchel. We learn what really happened to the List. It is obvious that Lorraine has been working for the CIA. This final twist in the plot is amusing and satisfying, and sets the stage for the sequel. Charlize Theron has brought to life an unforgettable character in the Atomic Blonde. This story is the first in a trilogy, and I'm glad as I will certainly be going to see the subsequent movies.

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