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ATOMIC BLONDE Post Release Thread

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

I like Charlize's performance in this. The 80's Soundtrack. The action (while not as plentiful as in John Wick 2) is well done.

 

The plot twists near the end threw me off a bit though.

post #2 of 48
Very good, not great. The plot never really came alive for me, and I never engaged with the characters or the story until the HOLY SHIT AMAZING stairwell fight. The movie totally clicked from that point forward.

Not sure if it's worth seeing in the theater but it's worth your time seeing at some point.
post #3 of 48

What did your wife think of the film?  About the same as you?

post #4 of 48

About the same.

post #5 of 48
People can take my opinion with a grain of salt here, because there was almost no way I wasn't going to like this movie, but I also thought it was very good. The few advisories I've read that it's light on action are only right if your measure is a bullet fiesta like "John Wick"-- because there are a number of terrific sequences in here, intense, bone-breaking stuff.

And like I said in the pre-release thread, the cool action is almost just gravy atop a lot of other things I'm a total sucker for: the Cold War, spies, 1980s/New Wave needle drops (even if a few were some common, on-the-nose ones), gratuitous sex, etc., etc. The cast is uniformly excellent. Charlize is a baddass-- it almost hurts to look at her, she's so sharp. McAvoy has a pretty great turn here. John Goodman! British character actors! It has it all.

Maybe its origins as a graphic novel comic book are showing through, though, because I do think it's strangely stuck between being a Bondian fantasy and a gritty LeCarre'-esque tale of moral ambiguity, and the shifts could be jarring sometimes. Along with that, the cross-double-cross plot doesn't hold together too well, and the final reveals are dopey and hand-wavy, but by the time I got to all that, I was already way sold.
post #6 of 48

It's a rung below the WICK films but still entertaining. The action by in large isn't on that level, but it does have more lesbianism than WICK. Seems like a fair trade-off.

 

Plot is way too murky. Not a big fan of the back and forth between the briefing and the actual mission. Hurt the pacing.

 

Theron and the set pieces were enough to keep me content. I love that between PARKER, WICK, and now this film David Leitch is constantly giving Daniel Bernhardt all these showcase fight scenes. His second melee with Theron was my favorite part of BLONDE.

post #7 of 48
Thread Starter 

I just smiled when Daniel Bernhardt showed up. Didn't know he was in this.

 

Same for Til Schweiger.

post #8 of 48

 Until the third act, I thought this was a good movie, but not quite what I was expecting. I assumed the movie would have more wild action. Once it got to the stairway fight, that is when the movie took off for me. That fight was as well choreographed as it was brutal. Seeing Lorraine and the dude she was fighting exhausted was a nice touch of realism. I thought all the last minute twists where fun and it was better than predictably making David the double agent. At first I didn't see the point of the debriefing, but once all the twists where revealed, it gave the movie a Usual Suspects vibe; the viewer doesn't know what really happened.

 

 Therron was great as the icy and bad ass agent. I also enjoyed McAvoy's rock star like secret agent.

 

 The needle drops where good; Cat People and Under Pressure where my favorites. Some Duran Duran would have been nice. Some Wild Boys for a scene with David.

 

 During the trailers I was bummed I got the old trailers for Thor and It.

 

 The movie wasn't as good as I thought it would be, but I still left the theater with a smile on my face.

post #9 of 48

I wondered if they would keep the final twist from The Coldest City, where Lorraine is revealed to be Satchel. They did, but then they added that EXTRA CIA twist on top of it, which made things a bit ridiculous. Make it clear she's Satchel when she wastes McAvoy, end it with her making that quip about the Queen, and honestly you've got a killer one-off.

 

Still, a lot of fun. This and Valerian made for an interesting double feature of visually beautiful nonsense plots with Bowie songs and John Goodman. This, however, had an awesome lead in Charlize, who commits 1000% and owns it, plus McAvoy's a lot of fun being scuzzy and scuttling around Berlin. The stair fight is awesome as hell.

post #10 of 48
Absolutely loved it. No real complaints. I even rolled with the later plot twists, as they are to be expected in a cold war spy thriller.

One of the best movies of the year. I think I liked it even more than JW2.
post #11 of 48
I loved the aesthetics of the movie, but the way the plot plays out for most of the movie feels really arbitrary. The plot twists really didn't matter whether they were confusing or not.

I never got into the central mystery. Just the aesthetics.

I saw it in Dolby Cinema.

GORGEOUS!!

some thuddingly obvious needle drops, jeez
post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

I never got into the central mystery. Just the aesthetics.

 

Since THE USUAL SUSPECTS was mentioned earlier I'll use that film as a comparison. I'm interested in SUSPECTS as to who is Keyser Soze. In BLONDE I just wasn't dying to know who was Satchel. So that reveal leads to more of a "Oh, okay" reaction.

 

But man those fights with Bernhardt. They really saved the picture.

post #13 of 48

The thing I like about the CIA twist is that it makes the story very much an inversion of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy. Where in TTSS you have the Russians using MI6 to both feed bad intel to the Americans and get good intel in exchange, in this Satchel is doing the same thing to the Russians. And in both cases you have over-ambitious British operatives and higher ups so concerned with keeping their agency relevant and the idea of the United Kingdom as a Global Superpower that they don't realize they're really just a piece in the game that Russia and America are playing.

post #14 of 48
Thread Starter 

One thing i don't understand. The Defector who memorized the list.

 

I assume he knows Lorraine is the Mole. Shouldn't he be afraid or worried about her handling the crossing?

post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post
 

One thing i don't understand. The Defector who memorized the list.

 

I assume he knows Lorraine is the Mole. Shouldn't he be afraid or worried about her handling the crossing?

I think you have to assume that he also knows that she's really CIA/working for the americans.

post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moltisanti View Post
 

 

 

But man those fights with Bernhardt. They really saved the picture.

KEY IN THE CHEEK!!!

 

I love how ridiculously exhausted they were by the end.  And it didn't play funny as such exhaustion usually plays.  

 

It made SENSE.  I also loved that poor Eddie Marsan got involved!

post #17 of 48

I think I kind of loved this or at least liked it a lot. There were some lame jokes that landed poorly but only a couple. I liked how seriously the film took itself. And that's the only minor quibble that I can think of for now.

 

Slim did a wonderful summary a few posts ago and I agree with every word. Loved, loved the setting and how this nasty little spy story is happening in the middle of this historical event. It makes the whole thing feel...grander. Theron and MacAvoy were terrific and the action first class. It's worth seeing on the big screen too, there are some gorgeous shots and images. All my favorite moments were when characters were just walking or standing around and some cool period song plays on the soundtrack. I'm seeing this one again to see how it holds up but I had a great time with it for sure. Atomic Blonde worked a lot better for me than John Wick ever did.

 

Oh yeah, forgot something. I liked that it is a spy movie, despite plentiful action scenes. So there are several scenes of characters snooping around and the plot and the movie are never in a hurry to get to next scene. All this gives the film a more leisurely pace and it's nice that the scenes have some room to breath.


Edited by mr Majestyk - 8/4/17 at 1:28pm
post #18 of 48

I'm listening to the /film podcast discussion on the film and a big portion of it is about how convoluted this movie is or not.  There is general disagreement.  The show's hosts are saying it's convoluted and nonsensical.  The guest says that she had no problem following it and that it's no more convoluted than a Bond movie.

 

 

As I indicated above, I feel something in between the two ends of this question.  I don't think the movie is particularly convoluted at all.  I think it only feels really unclear because the first half of the movie really feels like characters teleporting from one scene to another without much sense of cause and effect.  Theron goes to a bar.  The next day she meets her Q on a roof (who seems to come into the movie out of nowhere?).  Then we go here.  Then here.  

 

Scenes just happen in a THIS... and then THIS... and then THIS... with little sense of connective transitions between scenes.

 

as opposed to

 

because of THAT, THIS happens... and because of THAT, this happens afterwards.

 

 

Now, I don't know how much of the arbitrary order of scenes was intentional to put us in the mindset of Theron's character being out of step with the details of the mission.  But it really didn't make me care about the actual identity of Satchel or who was double-crossing who.  There's little for the audience to grab onto up until she has to protect Eddie Marsan.  

 

Good thing the movie is so goddamned sexy in how it looks and sounds.  

post #19 of 48

In terms of Theron's Q, when she goes to the watch shop for the first time, she asks to "buy a network," so I assumed the watch shop proprietor set up that meeting.

post #20 of 48

I was wondering what that meant!

post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post
 

I'm listening to the /film podcast discussion on the film and a big portion of it is about how convoluted this movie is or not.  There is general disagreement.  The show's hosts are saying it's convoluted and nonsensical.  The guest says that she had no problem following it and that it's no more convoluted than a Bond movie.

 

 

As I indicated above, I feel something in between the two ends of this question.  I don't think the movie is particularly convoluted at all.  I think it only feels really unclear because the first half of the movie really feels like characters teleporting from one scene to another without much sense of cause and effect.  Theron goes to a bar.  The next day she meets her Q on a roof (who seems to come into the movie out of nowhere?).  Then we go here.  Then here.  

 

Scenes just happen in a THIS... and then THIS... and then THIS... with little sense of connective transitions between scenes.

 

as opposed to

 

because of THAT, THIS happens... and because of THAT, this happens afterwards.

 

 

Now, I don't know how much of the arbitrary order of scenes was intentional to put us in the mindset of Theron's character being out of step with the details of the mission.  But it really didn't make me care about the actual identity of Satchel or who was double-crossing who.  There's little for the audience to grab onto up until she has to protect Eddie Marsan.  

 

Good thing the movie is so goddamned sexy in how it looks and sounds.  

 

 

As far as the plot goes I would say that it is not convoluted but it is nonsensical. I had no trouble following it while watching but I don't understand how it makes any sense that at the end Theron turns out to be a CIA agent. I was trying to do the math and I think at that point she is a quadruple agent instead of a double agent. It doesn't make much sense how she could have fooled MI6. KGB/Stasi I get, they think she is an MI6 agent who has turned but how could Broughton have fooled MI6 for years and why. Weren't US/UK interests largely aligned as far as Soviet Union goes during the cold war. I don't quite buy that last reveal but generally speaking I think that coherent plots aren't that important anyway and even less so when the film has other merits to compensate for the weaknesses in the plot and Blonde has plenty to show.

 

Or was it MI5, I always confuse the two but anyway.


Edited by mr Majestyk - 8/5/17 at 2:49pm
post #22 of 48
This was just brilliant. Smart and bone crunchingly violent when it needs to be. Charlize was amazing, totally believeable in such an extreme role. Loved how careful the film was, noted how scenes were given time to breathe. Loved the twists and turns, and Macavoy delivered another great weird performance.
post #23 of 48
Saw this today. Enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was very stylish - not stylish as in something like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was, but stylish in that Berlin and the whole look of it throughout the movie was its own character. The music, the shot, set design, everything. My wife went in expecting "blonde John Wick" and was mildly disappointed despite my warnings, but she did like Theron's performance.

And the stairwell sequence is absolutely the goods.
Edited by tcjsavannah - 8/6/17 at 12:48pm
post #24 of 48
One plot twist too many for my tastes. The beatings were pleasurable in more ways than I care to admit though.
post #25 of 48
STELIOS!!!
post #26 of 48
I saw this the other day and thought it was pretty good.
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

One plot twist too many for my tastes. The beatings were pleasurable in more ways than I care to admit though.

 

Awesome to see you again.

post #28 of 48
I had to take a leak so bad during this, I had difficulty standing when it was over.
post #29 of 48
Tend to agree this was decent rather than next level. I found it a bit slow going and straining too hard to be iconic at times. The action often felt derivative of other recent entries in what I'm going to call the Lone Badass subgenre, and tried to have its cake and eat it by switching back and forth between stylish fetishised violence (casual brutality set to synthpop; a rather over-telegraphed fight silhouetted against Stalker that felt like a cry for approval from the cineaste crowd), and stripped down Bourne grittiness whenever it felt like it.

And yes, one twist too many:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Twist 1: Ooh, confounded expecatations! But do they have the balls to follow through?

Twist 2: No. Still, a lone wolf double crossing all parties and bringing down the Soviets in her own devious way? That's a pretty cool concept.

Twist 3: This film doesn't make any sense at all.

Still, I always enjoy seeing Berlin onscreen, especially wintery cold war Berlin, and though the long take was a bit show-offy it was also a properly thrilling action sequence and the film properly comes to life from that point. It was okay.
post #30 of 48
Oooooh, I'm going to watch this Blu-ray so much. Over and over.

Prit-Teeee Moo-Veeee!
post #31 of 48

I bought this, sight unseen. I love the shit out of this movie.

 

The art direction is aces. The fight choreography is AMAZING. Love how they had Lorraine/Theron use found objects as weapons. Awesome. Brutal and intense were the fight scenes. Not clean - kinda what you'd expect in a real life situation - but a bit stylized for film. So that balance makes these scenes work so well. 

 

Soundtrack - amazeballs. I already have a lot of the music, too. 

 

BTW, the commentary track is great. Lots of info on how they did a lot of these scenes. They turned to ADR for quite a few, btw. Especially to beef up a character or plot point. 

 

Upset I didn't see this in the theater!

 

Of note, via the commentary:  Storyboard artist, Todd Harris (I got to know him as The Brocasso on IG), is uncredited. Which is unfortunate because Todd's work is GREAT and a big part of such movies like the two John Wick films. 


Edited by smugbug - 12/26/17 at 4:52pm
post #32 of 48
Thread Starter 

One thing i liked about the fights. Punches really hurt.

 

In the Apartment, Lorraine and her opponent are barely even able to stand. For a second, i thought they would call it a day and slink off to lick their wounds.

post #33 of 48

I LOVE that they get exhausted!

post #34 of 48

You see the physical repercussions of the fights. They're not glamorous. 

 

Man, this movie has really inspired me. 

post #35 of 48
Thread Starter 

So would you take this over John Wick 2?

 

For me. No. But its close.

post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post
 

So would you take this over John Wick 2?

 

For me. No. But its close.


I dig this more than John Wick 2.  The fact that I immediately wanted to re-watch it and listen to the commentary was a clue that I liked this one more. But then, this is a different movie than JW and JW2. There's a bit more happening with the spy stuff of the story.  Spy thriller along with action film. 

 

JW and JW2 are suppose to be straight forward action films. With JW being super streamlined. This, Atomic Blonde, can't be like that. There's gotta be a bit more in the way of exposition; which I appreciated. 

post #37 of 48
Thread Starter 

I disliked the twists at the end. But the fights and retro 80's music made this a favorite for me.

post #38 of 48

I'm not a fan of the music choices.  Not because I don't like the music.  It's great music.  But they feel like ones already so obvious and omnipresent in a bunch of other movies/media/TV/etc.

 

When Under Pressure kicked in for the end, I kinda wanted to roll my eyes and go "COME ON!!!"

 

 

Hahaha, it's probably because I look to movies to try out music I don't know.

post #39 of 48
Thread Starter 

"Burning Down The House" has been used way too many times.

post #40 of 48

Actually, a lot of whats on that soundtrack, like "Politics of Dancing" (one of the songs I have), hasn't been used - at least on film - before, that I recall.  I remember Cities in Dust being in Grosse Pointe Blank, briefly. Father Figure? Haven't heard it used before.

 

Under Pressure is in the movie, but not on the soundtrack, btw. 

post #41 of 48

I only saw the movie once in theaters, so I must really be focusing on the 2 or 3 songs that really popped out as overused.  I can't remember the rest.

 

I wonder if Under Pressure was too pricey for them to put on the soundtrack album...

post #42 of 48

Under Pressure was/is definitely too expensive to include. Betcha especially now, after Bowie's passing. Since I have just about ALL of Queen's music, I have this one. So...I listen to it, often!

post #43 of 48
When the film started playing “Cat People” all I could think about was INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, which does it better.
post #44 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Episode29 View Post

When the film started playing “Cat People” all I could think about was INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, which does it better.

 

You know what does it better....the movie Cat People.

 

post #45 of 48

Finally saw this last night and thought it was pretty damned good. It's not quite John Wick 2-level good but, as a few people have already said in this thread, it's going for a slightly different vibe. I think it goes one twist too far, for my liking, but otherwise it was a pretty enjoyable ride and, as great as Theron's central performance is, I'd just like to single out my boi James McAvoy who is delightfully skeevy in the best of ways throughout. Great action, lovely cinematography, awesome soundtrack. Had a really good time with this one. 

post #46 of 48

 I did like the final twist because she was doing all her double agenting for America.

post #47 of 48

post #48 of 48

Put me in the really-liked-but-didn't-quite-love-it camp. Theron has presence, grace, and confidence - all very much needed for the role. She's a bit slight for some of more straightforward bludgeoning fights - I thought she was best when offsetting a smaller physique by cleverly, fatally using whatever was at hand.

 

It's a gorgeously shot movie, though a bit heavy on the teal and orange spectrum. It's nice that her having romantic and/or sexual interest in a woman is just presented as there; whether it was real or feigned, the same-sex stuff was itself just presented as to be accepted.

 

I grew up in the 80s - I was 21 in 1989 - and I wasn't thrilled with some the choices. There remains a LOT of songs from the 80s that sound 80s but haven't been used to death and are, IMNSHO, better than the best known songs. "Father Figure" did NOT work at all for me; entirely the wrong choice with the action going on. 

 

The action itself was aces. Well done, well shot, and it never felt rote or like everything else I'd seen. As smug pointed out, the film does a good job (within the bounds of its own fairytale world) showing that even these superbly trained spies pay a toll for engaging in fights. The use of the hose, the heel, among other things, was GREAT. 

 

My three biggest critiques:

 

As pointed out upthread, I never felt like I was given a reason to care about her, beyond she's who we're following. As hokey as the opening to John Wick is, it WORKS. Plus we also are able to see through at least two other characters he's able to make some kind of friends or at least respectful acquaintances. Theron's cold and flat throughout, and by the time we're supposed to buy her having any kind of feelings for LaSalle, it's too late. I understand the flatness and opacity were likely very deliberate choices - but they hurt the film.

 

Along those lines - it hurts even more when Percival comes across as something of a tragic, fallen figure. McAvoy infuses David with a LOT of life and depth - far more than what I'd guess was on the page. It's a problem when the ostensible villain presents as more dimensional than your intended hero.

 

Lastly: yeah, all the twists at the end just got to be too much. 

 

~~~

 

My only caveat with all of this is that my first viewing of John Wick didn't result in me LOVING the movie like I do now. It took two, maybe even three viewings to really appreciate it. I'm wondering if Atomic Blonde might improve with repeat viewings.

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