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  • Fiona Prior

Old School Espionage

Atomic Blonde

Director: David Leitch

Atomic Blonde came highly recommended by a favourite tipster so I knew it would be great entertainment. Set at the time when the Berlin Wall came down, it is espionage drama at its best; sexy, tricky, full of twists and turns in allegiance and featuring indomitably charismatic and lethal undercover agents.

If you remember (from a totally uninformed perspective), 1989 was a time when any self-respecting spy got to travel the world, carry weapons, be trained in martial arts, and was expected to use any means possible to access information and take-out unwanted parties. The 21st century must be such an ant-climax for all the veteran Cold War players. Contemplating messages bouncing off satellite discs or hacking through firewalls just doesn’t seem to measure up.

Take Lorraine Broughton from Atomic Blonde, for example. Lorraine looks like Charlize Theron channelling Blondie in this end-of-80’s period piece. Lorraine/Charlize is deadly, enigmatic, multi-lingual, a mistress of disguises and always, always dressed impeccably for every hit. Then there is David Percival (James McAvoy). He is a British agent gone feral in Berlin; handsome, fast-car driving, chain smoking, vodka swigging - and he obviously hasn’t seen Mad Max Fury Road or he wouldn’t be so cocky in front of Charlize.


Atomic Blonde is based on a 2012 graphic novel called The Coldest City and is so gratuitously violent that we enter the film realm in ‘WHAM!’ ‘CRUNCH!’ mode, though the text does not appear on screen.

Fabulous sound track, dialogue like you’d find in … well, a very cool graphic novel and some extremely sexy, sex scenes. I am now in a complete dilemma. Is Scarlett Johansson from Ghost in a Shell my favourite action-film queen or has Charlize Theron now taken out the title?

A little bit James Bond (in bloody mode) and a tad Sin City, you may or may not fall under the spell of Atomic Blonde but I certainly did.

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