The opening credits to David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde boldly announce that this is not the story of the Berlin Wall’s fall – its symbolic destruction instead serving as an apt backdrop for superspy Lorraine Broughton’s (Charlize Theron) misadventures through a hyperreal actioner.
Opening on the first of many gorgeously composed, monochromatic shots, Lorraine emerges from an ice bath, her muscular back wracked with bruises and cuts. This brief sequence tells all we need to know about Lorraine – cold, brutal (and brutalised), and with her body half submerged and unnaturally lit, possibly duplicitous. Theron’s hard sensuality is a perfect fit for the role, recalling her robotic turn in Prometheus, but suffused with a vulnerability that balances out the toughness. Called in to HQ to account for a recent mission gone wrong, Lorraine curtly tells her story in flashback to MI6 boss Eric Gray (Toby Jones) and CIA man Emmett Kurzfeld (John Goodman).
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