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Blonde, James Blonde ranks...

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Author Topic: Atomic Blonde  (Read 443 times)

Kale Pasta

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Re: Atomic Blonde
« on: August 02, 2017, 09:33:41 pm »
Posted a decent length review on Letterboxd which I'll put here as well. I'd really like to know what people liked about this movie because it's honestly confusing me. Anyway, it's shorter than my full-length ones, but review below:


Wow, I can't believe this movie actually garnered some level of critical acclaim.

You can tell what type of spy thriller Atomic Blonde is from the very beginning, when the impetus for the film's plot is explained to be a list of active spies that has fallen into the wrong hands and has to be recovered. Seriously, that was the best the writers could do? That has to be the most cliche plot line around, and one I've definitely seen multiple times.

Anyway, the plotting doesn't get any better from there, as the film is basically incoherent all the way through. Characters are introduced and just sort of fall in and out of the film as the plot demands. That one dude who appears for one scene to beat a kid up with a skateboard and then leaves for the rest of the film stands out as an egregious example of this, but there are really just so many countries represented with different spies that it all becomes incredibly convoluted.

Charlize Theron tries in this film I guess, but she's essentially playing a blank slate and doesn't emote at all throughout the film. This sort of character can work, as the Bourne films have proven, but isn't effective in this movie at all. Jason Bourne was an intriguing lead largely because of his backstory and the unanswered mysteries surrounding him, which are points that Atomic Blonde fails to understand utterly and completely. Lorraine has no backstory at all, and is thus the human equivalent of a blank canvas, albeit a sexy one with top notch fighting skills. Speaking of fighting skills, this movie also does the classic spy film thing where people are able to withstand an unbelievable amount of hits and keep going- it's a small point, but one that has really started to bother me since so many films do it.

The performances in this film are all adequate (James McAvoy is actually pretty good) but, despite the talent of the cast, no one really stands out due to the poor material. However, the one area where Atomic Blonde truly shines is in its direction, and specifically its fight scenes. There are a bunch of cool shots throughout the film and the action scenes generally deliver the goods, with astoundingly long takes. One scene in the stairway of a building is a particularly remarkable piece of filmmaking with amazing choreography and long takes that provide a great atmosphere.

Sadly, however, well-filmed action scenes are all Atomic Blonde has up its sleeve. The plot is incoherent, the characters dull and the script is generally poor. Essentially, Atomic Blonde proves what so many other action films have: impressive direction and action sequences cannot save a film so deficient at its core.
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