Atomic Blonde premiered in July 2017. The film, directed by David Leitch became a huge hit all around the world, scoring $100,121,713 dollars in the box office. Based on the graphic novel titled The Coldest City by Sam Hart and Antony Johnston, Atomic Blonde carries a similar atmosphere to the John Wick trilogy. Nothing is shocking about this, as Leitch is a director of both. The first one, however, is a chilling, suspenseful story set in dark Berlin during the Cold War. There is also more diversity, which makes Atomic Blonde an unconventional movie. Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) – the main female character, is an MI6 spy, who’s the best of them all.
The plot starts with Lorraine traveling to Germany. The agent is on a mission – she has to investigate the murder of her coworker and find the list of double agents who will be in great danger if it goes into the wrong hands. Lorraine joins her other fellow agent, David Percival (James McAvoy), whose task is to assist her. The mission isn’t easy. Lorraine has to fight KGB agents, as both sides try to find the microfilm with the names. The woman can’t trust anyone. While guarding an important man – Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), Lorraine needs to finish the mission before somebody executes her. In the middle of the task, Lorraine meets another fellow agent, Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella), whom she falls in love with. As the story-line progresses, the main character has to hurry up and win the race, but that’s not all. Lorraine also wants to protect Delphine from being the primary target.
Lorraine Broughton’s character, created by Johnston and Hart, but brought to the big screen by Kurt Johnstad and David Leitch, is very unique. The woman is not only one of the best spies in MI6; she’s also one of the strongest, smartest women in this genre. In the past, the motif of female spy appeared in Inglorious Basterds (Bridget von Hammersmark – Diane Kruger), Salt (Evelyn Salt), Charlie’s Angels (Natalie Cook, Dylan Sanders, Alex Munday – Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu), etc. As far as Lorraine Broughton goes, she’s the closest to the character created by Angelina Jolie. Both of those characters were depicted in the entirety of their greatness – not impeccable, as seldom happens, particularly while discussing female spies. They both have their fair share of flaws, qualities, and wisdom. Charlize Theron did a marvelous job taking on the leading role in Atomic Blonde. The actress gave herself entirely to the character; she had eight personal trainers to prepare her for the fight scenes. The rumor has it that Charlize also worked out with Keanu Reeves who, at the same time, was preparing for John Wick: Chapter Two. The viewers will significantly appreciate her sacrifice – especially in the most crucial fight scene that unravels in a building in Berlin. It was one of the best fight scenes in a spy film.
Mentioned martial shots were vital for Atomic Blonde and its action. David Leitch is a master in picturing the flawlessness of movement, and every single detail. While blood spatters on the screen, bones crush, and yells loaded with agony can be heard – there is Lorraine who, colloquially speaking, kicks ass. Her moves are filled with perfection. They are smooth, carefully taught, and measured. Lorraine’s eyes seem to be around her head. The main character tries to predict every move of her opponents. She gets beat up over and again, because KGB agents are tough as nails and don’t spare anyone. Lorraine, however, gets up time after time; even if she has to muster every single fiber in her body to move. That component makes the film so enjoyable. Leading female characters don’t usually fight wearing twelve inches high heels. Lorraine’s face is free of any makeup. She doesn’t wear skimpy clothing, on the contrary – black turtleneck is her signature. The woman is clearly not created to be fetishized. She’s there to fight.
To the extent Charlize Theron performed the vast majority of her tricks, the fight scene in the Berlin building was severe enough to require stunt double’s assistance. It’s another amazing woman in the entertainment industry – Monique Ganderton. The woman who performed the staircase scene from Atomic Blonde. Creators had to install padded stairs to soften any impact. Ganderton did a fantastic job, helping Charlize bring the essence of Lorraine’s character to life. The scene lasts seven minutes and includes approximately forty separate shots flawlessly sewed together.
One of the other essential qualities of Lorraine’s character is her sexuality. When she meets Delphine, the tension and attraction between the two characters is extremely clear. What the viewer doesn’t expect from the beginning is that Lorraine will fall for the other agent. However, in Atomic Blonde, it’s not a crucial part of the plot-line. It’s the ordinary thing that happens in one’s life – as it should be.
As Atomic Blonde goes to the spy/action genre with its excellent cinematography and fight sequences, this is not the most critical thing for women. Films like those described above are simply needed for women to feel empowered. The production breaks the genre that was before considered a traditionally masculine range of work. In the past, if it was a woman, she had to appear in questionable clothing, high heels, and full makeup. Don’t get me wrong – women can do and wear whatever they desire. However, it feels like this type of character was always built for a male audience. In Atomic Blonde, we have a heroine who equally speaks to women and empowers them with her strength and wisdom. Lorraine is practical, brilliant yet seems gentle, especially in scenes with Delphine. It doesn’t make her weaker, though. It portrays her as a multi-dimensional, fully-fledged character.
The action in Atomic Blonde exceeds the plot, but that’s not a bad thing. All together with the 80s great, nostalgic music, it creates fantastic entertainment that’s only doubled by the presence of the main female character. The action settled in a snowy Berling gives the movie suspense that every spy production needs. Lorraine’s role, portrayed by talented Charlize Theron, only makes it more unique.
You can watch Atomic Blonde on Vudu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and YouTube.
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Zofia lives in LA and is passionate about pop culture, television, and Stevie Nicks. She graduated from the University of Wroclaw, Poland with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Social Communication with Creative Writing. Her work revolves around women in television and film. She previously has written for GirlTalkHQ, Reel Honey, The FilmEra and Polish film portals. She loves the Scream movies, Carol and Big Little Lies. She wants Sarah Paulson to be her buddy and go for drinks with her. Her Twitter – @zoshugrochu