I’m a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. I interview actors and filmmakers. I’ve worked in broadcast television for 20 years.
I’m also a Seattle wife and mom who works full-time and sits in an hour of traffic (minimum) every day.
Sometimes I’m tired when I screen a movie. Sometimes I’m traveling and I miss my kids. Sometimes I’ve had a cocktail when I should have had a glass of water.
All of these things can impact my reaction to a film. Because I’m human.
So in an effort to write Honest Reviews, I’ll cop to the external factors that might have altered my enjoyment or perception of the movie. Then, I’ll give you my review. Then, you can decide if it’s useful or not.
With that, here’s my review of Atomic Blonde.
FOOD/DRINK BEFORE SCREENING: Sandwich and sweet tea
EXPECTATION OF MOVIE: High
I often have a small window of time between work and movie screenings. In this case, there was just enough time to wolf down dinner, get stuck in traffic, and barely make it into to the theater.
I was experiencing a little anxiety when the lights went down.
Then, I was happily transported to 1989 Berlin.
I can’t ignore my personal bias regarding the soundtrack and wardrobe in this movie. As a child of the ’80’s, I loved every single song and would wear every single article of clothing in Charlize Theron’s closet (heels, thigh-high boots dresses, sweaters, gowns, off-the-shoulder sweatshirts and warm jackets - an unbelievable array of options, given that she arrives in Berlin with one solitary suitcase.)
If ever there was a “star” of a movie, it’s Charlize in Atomic Blonde. Her performance is intoxicating. Dazzling. And 100% kick-ass.
I found myself cheering, out loud, to myself, during one of the fighting scenes. She beats up at least six bad guys, wearing 4-inch heeled boots, without getting any smudges on her white pea coat. (*STANDING OVATION*)
James McAvoy is also aces in this movie - but honestly, when isn’t he?
For the record, YES Charlize has a sexy love scene with another actress and NO it’s not as big a deal as people are making it out to be and ALSO this is 2017 so let’s get over it already.
The film’s director, David Leitch, worked for years as a stunt double/coordinator, and he used that skill set to create some of the most mind-blowing hand-to-hand combat sequences I’ve ever seen. There’s a single-shot scene where Charlize did her own heavy lifting that still has me in awe.
Safe to say, I completely crushed on the first two-thirds of the movie.
And then, the last 20-30 minutes happened.
Despite some more impressive action sequences and a slight story twist, the movie lost me. The plot revealed itself to be weak. The shine wore off. And I left the theater feeling a bit confounded.
So, would I recommend Atomic Blonde?
Yes. But I also recommend having lower expectations and less anxiety than I did.
Maybe then, Charlize will take your breath away to the very end.
What do you think of Honest Review or Atomic Blonde? Let me know at @kimholcomb.