Atomic Blonde, with Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman and Toby Jones, directed by David Leitch
DON’T let the title put you off, Atomic Blonde is one of the best action movies of the year, and is set in Berlin in 1989, just as the wall separating the West from the East came crumbling down.
Unlike the latest Fast and Furious movie (although that was a lot of fun), the car chases are more realistic, and cars don’t explode when they crash. The fight scenes also appear more realistic, and people who are punched/kicked/head-butted end up with bruises and black eyes.
The movie begins when MI6 agent James Gascoigne (Sam Hargrave) is killed while carrying a microfilm with the names of all the active field agents in the Soviet Union. The microfilm is stolen by Gascoigne’s killer, a Soviet agent named Yuri Bakhtin (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson) who decides to sell the list to the highest bidder.
In the meantime, MI6 assigns Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) to recapture the microfilm by any means possible. She is also told to seek out, identify and capture a double agent, codenamed Satchel. At the Berlin Airport she is supposed to meet station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) but is, instead, captured by KGB officer turned entrepreneur Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), but manages to escape by virtue of her wits and fighting skills and is finally picked up by Percival. In the meantime, a French spy is also on Broughton’s tail.
This sets the scene for a classic cold war spy movie, set at a time when the USSR is crumbling along with the Berlin Wall.
This is another of those stories with a nonlinear timeline, and the first time Broughton is seen is when the mission is (almost) complete. It is through her eyes that we see what transpired in Berlin and we get to a point where we think we know what is happening. But it is all smoke and mirrors, and it isn’t until the very end that we learn the truth.
This movie is highly recommended for those who love a good Cold War thriller. Theron is at her sexiest best and the music played is all from the 80s, and it suits the time and place perfectly.