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  • Gareth Crook

Atomic Blonde (2017)

A film that starts with a man in a bathrobe, running through snowy Berlin as New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ banging out, only to be crushed by a Merc and thrown off a bridge, tells you a lot. When a bruised, battered and naked Charlize Theron then brings in scene two, downing vodka in the bath as Bowie kicks into life, the picture is painted pretty clear before the opening credits even roll with their spray-painted neon kitsch. STYLE. Sleek, composed style. A world of spy’s, espionage, a truck load of tropes and exposition. With a cracking cast of genuine brilliance (Toby Jones, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsden), it should be amazing, it, is, not. It’s like someone’s watched Run Lola Run, Snatch, The Bourne Identity, The Matrix and tried to smash it all together. It’s hyperreal with zero grit and therefore zero investment, interest or point. The cold characters feel like cartoons, it’s like a 90s student film with a budget, a really really big budget. There’s a heavy male gaze throughout, which I suppose should come as no surprise, it’s called Atomic Blonde after all! Even a heavily choreographed fight scene using ‘Stalker’ as a backdrop feels flat. It’s all blood, no heart. I will say one thing positive though, it has a flawless soundtrack of wonderful needle-drops, but that’s hardly enough to save it.


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