Charlize Theron plays an MI6 spy sent to Berlin at the end of the 1980s. She has to do something or other while remaining pretty and stylish throughout. She also has to beat up or shoot umpteen men – while still looking pretty and stylish – and choreographing herself to a retro soundtrack. And fitting in some lesbian action too.
Sounds great, right? It ain’t. We simply don’t care about her character – there’s no moral dilemma to engage us emotionally, there’s no actual peril (cos the action is all in flashback, so we know she survives) and there’s no mystery (cos the baddie/double-agent is revealed very early on). In fact, there’s not much of anything going on in this movie.
The characterisation of Charlize in the first five minutes of the movie basically consists of – look, she’s pretty, and she’s been injured in a fight, so you feel sorry for her, and, see, you get a flash of her naked breasts too. Despite all the hype, this is definitely not a feminist movie. It’s basically soft-porn for a male audience (the direction of the scenes is all about ‘the male gaze’). The lesbian sex scene is simply embarrassing. Movies like Bound (made all the way back in 1997) put Atomic Blonde to absolute shame. Atomic shame.
The plot is predictable and largely irrelevant. The supporting cast (James McAvoy does his best, but there’s only so much he can achieve) of characters is as uninteresting as Charlize’s own character. Charlize’s ‘British’ accent is as bad as just about everything else in this film. Alright, there’s one decent fight scene on a staircase, but it’s nowhere near enough to redeem this movie. At the end of the day, if you like the genre of thriller-killer movies, you’ll be far better off watching John Wick (again, if you’ve already seen it).
Overall, I can’t really give it more than 6 out of 10. That’s probably a tad generous too.