Atomic Blonde: Kicking Ass In Style and Redefining the Female Spy Persona
Ever since her role in the “Devils Advocate” I’ve been a Charlize Theron fan, so I was pretty excited to see what she would do with the starring role in Atomic Blonde. She didn’t disappoint.
The movie was Adapted from a graphic novel — “The Coldest City” by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart. The bold styling of the film kept true to its origins, while the action scenes were intense, gritty and remarkably realistic thanks to Theron’s commitment to the role.
Atomic Blonde Summary
It’s the winter of 1989 in Cold-war Berlin – the wall hasn’t yet fallen and danger lurks everywhere. One of Britan’s top agents, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), is sent undercover to recover the body of a fellow MI6 operative who has recently been murdered, and more importantly discover the whereabouts of a top-secret microfilm list that contains the identities and past missions of every clandestine operative in Europe.
On top of that she is instructed to find the true identity and whereabouts of a double-agent nicknamed “Satchel” who has been undermining operations for years. Her bosses taunt her with a promise of “tea with the queen of England” if she succeeds.
The city if rife with espionage and boiling on the edge of revolution, so Lorraine is instructed to meet up with fellow British spy David Percival (James McAvoy), who is described as being in Berlin so long he’s gone “feral.” David turns out to be more than Lorraine bargained for.
Preparing for the Atomic Blonde Role
It took intense training four hours a day, for two and a half months, with eight fight coaches to prepare Theron for the physically demanding fight sequences. During training Theron reportedly cracked two teeth and underwent root canal surgery, as well as sustaining numerous bruises and a badly twisted knee.
She performed 98% of her own stunts, only missing out on the ones that involved falling down stairs or falling from great heights, due to insurance restrictions. This is impressive for anyone, man or women, but Charlize has recently turned 40.
She wanted the film to have authenticity and encouraged the producers to make her injuries appear as realistic as possible, going as far as to show her fully naked and covered in bruises, emerging from an ice bath, in one of the opening scenes. This authenticity is one of the most endearing, and at times disturbing, qualities of the film.
Bold Visual Styling and Killer Soundtrack
The movie plays on its graphic novel background by employing striking visuals and a soundtrack to match.
Lorraine’s signature look is graphic black and white with killer heels (literally). She appears in Max Mara, Dior and Burberry trench coats, John Galliano suits, leather gloves and designer shades.
Neon lights and graffiti feature heavily throughout the movie, emphasizing both the graphic grittiness of the city as well as the 1980s cool.
The Atomic Blonde Soundtrack was comprised of 40+ Tracks including:
Personal Jesus / Depeche Mode
Killer Queen / Queen
Under Pressure / David Bowie & Queen
Blue Monday / New Order
Major Tom / Peter Schilling
Fight The Power / Public Enemy
Hungry Like The Wolf / Duran Duran
Bombshell Blonde / Owl City
Stigmata / Ministry
London Calling / The Clash
Atomic / Blondie
CLICK HERE to purchase the full soundtrack. If you’re a fan of the 80’s you’ll love it, I promise.
Atomic Blonde Sequel
Personally I have high hopes for a sequel. Atomic Blonde grossed $18.6 Million its opening weekend and to date has made $51.5 Million in the US and $96.5 Million worldwide. That tops John Wick’s opening weekend – the movie Atomic Blonde has been most compared to – which only grossed $14.4 Million it’s opening weekend.
It’s long been Theron’s goal to make or inspire more female-driven movies – “not just actors, but producers, directors, writers”. She’s fully on board for making Atomic Blonde a franchise series.