Film: ‘Atomic Blonde’; Director: David Leitch; Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella; Rating: *
In this vacuous, airheaded bimbette of a film that tries be worldly-wise all-knowing and chic, the fall of the Berlin Wall plays a pivotal part.
It’s not just the Berlin wall that falls in Atomic Blonde. New standards of lowly comicbook adaptation are plumbed in what could be dubbed the worst potshot at blonde bombshelling since Joyce Chopra’s Blonde.
“Atomic Blonde” is not even a feature film. Not really. It is a series of mindbending montages and a pretentious pastiche strung together with the kind of intimate insouciance that is meant to simulate a smoky moodiness. Of course a lot of that smoke could be coming from Theron’s incessant smoking.
This is 1989 and women smoking in front of bullying men was a big turn-on for the audience.
But does it still work? Atomic Blonde is all surface, no substance. The surface tension is striven to be substantiated by a ritzy fun-filled referential music score which had me listening in carefully. If the truth be told the action on the soundtrack is far more exciting than the carefully-staged fights where the beauteous Ms Theron takes on goons in svelte suits and on hellishly powerful road vehicles meant to revv up our adrenaline but instead all they do, is grate on our nerves.
Director David Leitch is evidently a big fan of comicbook adaptations. He crams every crevice in the frames with a surplus of action and counter-action . Throughout, Ms Theron, normally an actress who lights up the darkest interiors of her character’s soul,remains the portrait of enforced tranquility, as though to say , ‘Let the world burn.I light up only the cigarette in my sexy mouth.’
The cool-blonde act sits uneasily on Ms Theron. Perhaps the blonde wig makes her uncomfortable. Though ,let me assure fans of comicbook adaptations,there is plenty more to be uncomfortable about in this cock-and-bull espionage drama which is more confused than confusing.
James McAvoy whom we last saw play the multiple-split personality in Manoj Shyamalan’s Split is here Ms Theron’s ally and comrade in Berlin. Together they get to fight the baddies and wrestle with each other on the carpeted floor where McAvoy offers to show Ms Theron his testicle.
Goes well with the trashy mood-swings of this blonde-on-fire spy thriller,which is all balls. The characters pop out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. Sofia Boutella stalks Ms Theron and then clambers into bed with her. It’s all part of the job. Someone has got to save the world. But who will save us from this film?
I suggest you stay away from this hoax bomb scare. Go watch “Toilet Ek Prem Katha” which is at the least, relevant to our times and culture.