FIB Film Review: Blonde, ‘Atomic Blonde’

Director David Leitch sure didn’t miss the memo of 2017 being the year of badass ladies. Atomic Blonde starring Charlize Theron is the violent, seedy-underworld-meets-high-fashion action alternative to the Bond franchise we didn’t know we needed.

Image credit: Universal/Jonathan Prime

Whether Leitch intended to gift us with a fierce contender for the female Bond (for which we’ve undeniably been clamouring for) or Theron slips into the Saint Laurent boots of comic agent Lorraine Broughton as easily as Stoli goes down the throat…either way we’ve been blessed with an incredible and smart action flick.

Atomic Blonde stars Charlize Theron as MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, revered for her expertise in escape and evasion and for her proficiency in intelligence collection and hand-to-hand combat. Based on Antony Johnston’s graphic novel The Coldest City, the film spins a retrospective tale of an inter-agency mission gone awry, as Lorraine recounts an assignment to recover a missing list of double agents from the ticking time bomb of Berlin during the Cold War. Also starring James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella and John Goodman, the mystery/ action/thriller (slash our favourite new genre – high fashion flick) teeters between comedic spy film and bloody portrayal of a violent clandestine assignment.

James McAvoy as David Percival. Photo credit: Universal/Jonathan Prime

McAvoy as David Percival, is the wild-eyed comic foil to Theron’s stony Broughton, injecting a cheeky and unhinged persona to his role as a government agent implanted in the political turmoil of a Cold War Berlin.

While, we dare not compare Lorraine Broughton to a Bond of female proportions…from her signature cocktail to her sordid affairs with fellow agents and a chief we only know by the name of ‘C’? It reeks of Jimmy B. Fortunately, Charlize Theron lends her jaw-dropping stuntwoman prowess and insouciant demeanour to a character so fierce she’s in a total league of her own.

Image credit: Universal/Jonathan Prime

We couldn’t help but notice Lorraine’s iconic white blonde hair and endless supply of Stoli and cigarettes had a distinct Josie Tyrell (of Janet Fitch’s Paint it Black) vibe. The ’80s punk rock genre of Cold War Berlin foreshadows the violent undertones of clandestine government affairs, and for at least one FIB writer – evoked an overwhelming regret of not taking advantage of Berlin’s night life on her 2015 Euro trip.

And of course it goes without saying, the eagle eyes at FIB were in awe of the film’s wardrobe department. The nonchalance with which Lorraine conducts covert intelligence collection in a snow-white, double-breasted Tomas Maier pea coat amongst a sea of drab Berliners is what propels the fervently badass theme of Atomic Blonde. And strutting down a Berlin sidewalk in a pair of equally gothic Saint Laurent boots? This scene cements Lorraine as a fashion icon come fierce as fuck international agent. But her seemingly endless supply of high fashion long coats and sunglasses left us jealous and a little perplexed: how did Lorraine fit all of these garments into her two suitcases? Is this film a subliminal Tom Ford sunglasses ad? Could we pull off those Gucci fingerless gloves?

Photo credit: Universal/Jonathan Prime

Where Atomic Blonde delivers its true TKO is in its ’80s inspired soundtrack. From the theatrical suspense of ‘Killer Queen’ by Queen to the whimsical ’99 Luftballons’ by Nena… it’s safe to say we drove home from the premiere with Spotify’s ‘Atomic Blonde Soundtrack’ blaring. Yes, it already exists – you’re welcome.

If Atomic Blonde doesn’t leave you with an insatiable thirst for Stoli on the rocks, seriously considering a radical bleach job and/or booking your next holiday to Berlin all before the credits roll out, then there is no helping you. See it in cinemas 3rd of August, 2017.