With synth-heavy 80s pop tunes, neon lighting and heart-pounding action, Atomic Blonde is about as far as you could get from subtle.
From one half of the directing team behind the first John Wick movie, David Leitch, the colourful action film starts with a bang and keeps the adrenaline pumping throughout the whole runtime.
Charlize Theron (The Italian Job) plays the lead role, MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, and absolutely kills it as a female, feminine action hero.
She is sent to Berlin in November, 1989 – just days before the wall dividing the country’s east and west was to finally be torn down.
Her mission is to return the body of an agent who was killed by a member of the KGB – while also figuring out who the mysterious double agent ‘Satchel’ is.
Her contact in Berlin is David Percival (James McAvoy, Atonement), an agent who has been living there for years and has become ingrained in the environment.
East Berlin is a place of chaos, of litter, debris, graffiti and post-punk hairdos.
It is another world, where social norms are far from normal.
Lorraine is sucked into the underbelly of Berlin as she seeks to complete her mission.
The story is told through a debriefing ten days after the action – Lorraine is informing her M16 superior (Toby Jones, Captain America) and a CIA counterpart (John Goodman, Argo) about the events of her time in Germany.
It is unclear if the spy is being forthcoming, and whether her events can be trusted.
In fact, it’s hard to establish just who is on whose side and where their loyalties actually lie.
The plot, especially towards the end of the film, is hard to follow, which does but a dampener on the otherwise fantastically styled film.
The action set-pieces are incredible and Charlize Theron is an absolute beast in her fight sequences.
She is a female action hero to be admired, taking on multiple combatants at once and always moving one step ahead.
The soundtrack pounds along hand-in-hand with the action beats, the lighting creating a not-quite-real feeling for the surreal setting.
If you like great action and stellar fight sequences, you’ll love Atomic Blonde.