Rated R, not for kids.
* Film features brutal violence, sexuality/nudity, political situations, Trabants, fierce sarcasm, and awesome 1980s music nobody under 30 would really enjoy.
 
I saw the Berlin Wall get torn down on live TV. I also have a jigsaw puzzle of that event. Since then I’ve read about the tearing down of the Wall, seen the photos, and heard the aftermath (U2’s Achtung Baby and Zooropa). And, despite the Stasi, never did I imagine that Berliners on either side of the Wall were so stylish.
 
You know what this film reminds me of?
This film reminds me of Ridley Scott’s [Blade Runner] and to a lesser extent the first [Ghost in the Shell] film (and the Stand Alone Complex TV series).

On one hand, we have a stylish film with spectacular cinematography that refashions familiar ground, Berlin at the end of the Cold War, into a beautiful world of deadly uncertainties.
 
On the other hand, we have an armed and dangerous female protagonist, with a “very particular set of skills,” whose talents give her no solace, who is continually soul-searching, is employed in a trade where information is life and where is time is measured in seconds, and who lives her life to a great soundtrack.
 
And if I had another hand, I would add that just like [Blade Runner], both the original and the sequel, [Atomic Blonde] was also criticized for being all flash and no substance…. Ditto [Dr. No]. Just sayin'.
 
Was [Atomic Blonde] brutally violent?
Yes.
 
Was that violence integral to the film?
No. It was integral to the style, a gritty, visceral style that was arguably a reaction to the unrealistic, superhero fights that have dominated the box office for the past decade. If all the action scenes were replaced with games of baccarat, each hand more deadly than the last, or an escape via hot air balloon, however, I would still watch this film because of the music, the visuals, and the reveal.
 
Does the film look spectacular?
Yes! There was some low quality CGI, but that’s more than made up for but the rest of the visuals.
 
How does the film compare to the source work, [The Coldest City] by Antony Johnston?
I never read it. Couldn’t say.
 
Were there anachronisms in the film?
Yes, but they don’t really matter.
 
Was there humour in the film?
Yes.
 
How was the plot?
Decent. Not perfect. Great ending.
 
Score and soundtrack?
Excellent. Though, I wouldn’t mind a version only with music by Brian Eno or only with music from David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, music that I felt that Tyler Bates’ sparse instrumental score to the film had channelled.
 
Final Thoughts:
A salute to Charlize Theron, not only as the leading actress, not only for her hard work (including stunt work), but also as the producer of this film over the course of five years of development, according to Variety. True, though the limited budget sometimes showed, Theron only had half the budget for this personal project than that of another celebrity, Ryan Reynold’s [Deadpool].
 
Stylish films like [Atomic Blonde] that go against the grain can’t all be winners, but they can all hope to be heroes.
 
From “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie
  Put on your red shoes and dance the blues
  Let’s dance
  To the song they’re playin’ on the radio
  Let’s sway
  While color lights up your face
  Let’s sway
  Sway through the crowd to an empty space

gord_ma's rating:
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