Year Released: 2017
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy Sofia Boutella, John Goodman
(R, 115 min,)
Genre: Action and Adventure, Drama, Mystery and Suspense
“You sent me into a hornet’s nest, but then you knew that, didn’t you?” Lorraine Broughton
Charlize Theron owns this film. Like the best of Bonds she is a stylish knockout – even when sporting a black eye – and reliably lethal. And she’s on duty 24/7, even in the bedroom or the occasional darkened hallway, where amorous adventures are, of course, all for queen and country.
And like Ginger Rogers, she does it all in high heels. Hers are 4-inch stilettos, which prove, on occasion, to be as deadly as the lady herself. Like the early Bonds, our atomic blond uses what’s at hand, and she is not afraid of hand to hand combat, even with cadres of testosterone-charged males twice her size.
And in some ways, she is more lethal and ruthless than her 007 licensed to kill cohort. In fact, in terms of fighting, we have a female version of John Wick, whose choreographed killing spree is performed with martial arts finesse. While Bond handles his enemies like drinking a bad vintage of inferior wine, an unseemly task he nevertheless must perform, Theron’s Lorraine Broughton seems to relish taking on the bad guys mano a mano.
Although she does realize there is no net for her life on the edge.
"I chose this life, and someday it’s going to get me killed. But not today."
And her adversaries are certainly not cardboard cutouts petting their white Persian kitties. In fact, Agent Broughton doesn’t know exactly who her enemy is. All she knows is that there is a double agent in 1989 Berlin who has an “atomic bomb of information.”
And that she is to trust no one. Not even her contact, David Percival (James McAvoy), who proved his acting chops as the many faceted villain in Split, whether he was prim in a pleated skirt, or an annoying 9 year old, to name a few of the personalities he portrayed in that release.
Here McAvoy is also flamboyant, a MI6 operative, having lived so long in seedy Berlin, that he is in danger of “going native.” As we might assume from his nightlife at the bars where he exchanges black market bobbles for information and his apartment, which is chucked to the rim with it. Is it merely part and parcel of his spy trade, or is Percival doing a little work off the books, we might ask.
Someone else emerges from the shadows, Delphine (Sofia Boutella), a cloak and dagger apprentice, who looks the part too well behind her large-lensed camera and stalks Lorraine with little finesse. Yet Lorraine plays along with her approach in the bar, even if it seems scripted from a bad novel. Her rather blatant approach moments later in a dark hallway also meets with a certain sort of success, though who is playing whom is uncertain.
And then there is Spyglass, the package she is to collect, an East German secret police officer offering his list of agents, the “atomic bomb of information,” to buy his freedom in the West. Of course, the bespectacled informer looks the part.
“You smell like a Stasi officer,” Lorraine tells him.
Berlin, its wall about to come tumbling down, is a character in itself as well. Filters make the film almost monochromatic, a dull gray luster imposed on everything, just like the mindset of its abused people. It’s a perfect setting for the rough and tumble of the spy business. A deserted building for a showdown with Soviet agents lurking behind squalid stairways that make for hard landings for both sides. A street protest to cloak a clandestine departure, a sea of black umbrellas to forestall hidden snipers above. Lorraine’s black and white chic ensembles, quite as stylish as any worn by Audrey Hepburn, provide a fashionable complement to this colorless city.
Certainly, some critics find the plot either tortuous or clichéd. Of course, it’s not the at the same level as that other film that starts off in Berlin, but like John Le Carre’s The Spy who Came in from the Cold, Atomic Blonde is a sort of slap in the face to the glamorized intrigue of the spy world.
Lorraine may have her signature drink, Stoli (vodka) on ice, but it has none of the “shaken not stirred” allure of Bond’s favorite, enjoyed at leisure in some swanky club. Hers is gulped down swiftly, like a quick cut to oblivion to wipe out the images of tattered lives that linger in the back of her brain, like the burning photo of her “spy that loved me,” killed off in the first scene.
None of the light banter of Bond, and certainly not for the youngsters, but this very professional and slick package offers some depth and texture that will linger long after the bloodied bodies fade to black.
With a hat tip to 2 Geeks who Eat.com
Who doesn’t love a good spy movie? We love them! There is something about the mystery and intrigue of them that is really appealing! We are pretty excited for Charlize Theron’s latest film, Atomic Blonde. We even created a delicious cocktail that is perfect for a spy.
The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.
Our cocktail "The Coldest City" is named for the comic that Atomic Blonde is based on. When creating "The Coldest City," we started with the idea of creating a martini. With Charlize Theron’s character being MI6, we immediately thought of James Bond. Therefore, we want to do a take on the martini that was not only strong but also had a feminine flair. We decided to do this with Creme de Violette, one of our favorite spirits.
The Coldest City Cocktail
Yield: 1 cocktail
1oz Creme de Violette
3/4 oz Lime Juice
Dash Orange Bitters
Dash Cardamom Bitters
Stir in a cocktail mixing glass with ice.
Strain and pour into martini glass.