As always, Spoiler Alert.
I love Atomic Blonde for a lot of reasons.
I love a good action flick. And this is a good action flick. It’s got a solid storyline and three-dimensional characters, and refreshingly raw and brutal fight scenes, where people don’t immediately bounce back to their feet, unscathed and ready to go. I also appreciate how, in those fight scenes, there are no concessions made because one of the fighters is a woman. It’s nice to see female characters getting involved in the fisticuffs, and getting equal treatment from the men when they do.
Although I had to laugh during this viewing of Atomic Blonde, as I watched it quite closely on the heels of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, another film in which I’ve written about the equality between the warring sexes. While the two movies are quite different in tone, they both use a similar tactic to establish the female leads as equal to the men. In Mr. and Mrs. Smith, during the fight scene between Jane (Angelina Jolie) and John (Brad Pitt), when John has the upper hand, he tells Jane to, “Come to daddy.” After the taunt, Jane drops him to the ground and asks, “Who’s your daddy now?” The conversation in Atomic Blonde is different, with the bad guy telling Lorraine (Charlize Theron) to, “Take this, bitch,” in response to which she stabs him in the throat and asks, “Am I a bitch now?” Though the words are different, the message behind them is the same: just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she can’t hand you your ass.
Speaking of Charlize Theron, I love the eye candy the film is packed with. Theron, John Goodman (who is an absolute beast with a beard), Sofia Boutella, James McAvoy – it’s a dream movie to watch in bisexual. (Although everybody in my standard movie-watching crew – which is myself (a bisexual woman) and a hetero man and a lesbian – agrees that the movie scores high on the Satisfying For Many Orientations scale. Especially with the girl-on-girl action between Theron and Boutella.)
I love that Atomic Blonde takes place in Berlin. It’s always fun to watch movies that are filmed in places I’ve been. I get a kick out of being able to pick out various locations. (Interestingly, it was another Charlize Theron film, Aeon Flux, which was also filmed in Berlin, that first sparked my interest in visiting the city.) But beyond that, after my beloved Halifax, Berlin is my favourite city in the world. McAvoy’s Percival could be me when he declares:
But more than anything, I love love love love love the soundtrack. I was a teenager in the ’80s and, with the film set in 1989 and featuring a tonne of pop songs from that era, I spent an awful lot of time being transported back to my youth. (I must admit, the fashion was spot on, as well. But considering the excessive use of shoulder pads that decade, and my standard fare being a blouse (with shoulder pads) and a blazer (with even bigger shoulder pads), I often looked like a linebacker, which is something I’m not so eager to revisit.)
Anyway, the music. This is actually a testament to the changes in perspective we experience as we age, I think. I remember in 1998, my ex-husband and I won tickets to see Culture Club, The Human League, and ABC in concert in London. (England, not Ontario). It was a radio station contest, during their lunchtime all request, all ’80s hour. My ex requested Nik Kershaw’s “Wouldn’t It Be Good,” which is the song that won us the trip.
A friend of ours pointed out that it only took a decade for us to become a separate radio demographic with our own special show, rather than the popular music of the day. Nearly 30 at the time, I was resentful of the transition. But now, nearing 50, I’m over it. Especially when a current movie both recognizes the excellence of and features my personal go-to ’80s request song.
To see other posts in my venture to watch my movie collection in alphabetical(ish) order, click here.