Atomic Blonde | Third Space

Atomic Blonde

How do you judge morality?
Wed 4 Jan 2017

1 out of 5 stars

Fall of the Berlin wall? Being there was fun. Nations that flaked off of the Soviet Union in southeastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus? Being there was not so fun. - P. J. O'Rourke

The fall of the Berlin Wall was one of the key events in the end of the Cold War and of the USSR. It was a celebration for most of the world and a focal point for the success of diplomacy between America and Russia. Even though it marked the end of some of the divides between the super powers, it started a whole new series challenges for Europe and the world. It still opens the door for a multitude of storylines and films.

Agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) has been sent into this potential powder keg in history to retrieve a lost spy list for MI6 and to uncover the identity of Satchel, a duel agent. In the process of finding the list and the traitor to the West, she discovers that there is more to this battle than she is led to believe. She is partnered with embedded agent David Percival (James McAvoy) to help her navigate through the political labyrinth to find her target and the man behind the leaked piece of microfilm. As she determines if she can trust this fellow agent, Agent Broughton must discover the identity of the woman that has been following her since her arrival behind the Iron Curtain.

Trailer contains mature content

Based on the graphic novel by Antony Johnston called The Coldest City, the attempt to deliver a female action hero should be applauded. In a world of Bond and Bourne, the lead female protagonist in the world of spies has not been seen of much since Angelina Jolie’s Salt. Coming off the success of her run in the world of strong lead characters in Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron takes on the roles with strength and tenacity. She proves to be tough, stylish and sensual throughout the political firestorm. Proving that the strong female lead has a place in cinema and should open the door to future roles for actresses.

Even though there will be inevitable comparisons to James Bond and Jason Bourne, the hyper-violent stylings of director David Leitch (John Wick) give this a very different feel than other spy films. He has managed to find a stellar supporting cast in James McAvoy, John Goodman and Toby Jones, which helps to drive the story forward at breakneck speeds that is becoming a regular part of this genre. Subtlety and class are no longer held as markers for these films, but merely some beauty shots and minimal dialogue between action sequences is how things are held together. The dark background of East Berlin provides a stack contrast for Theron’s bleach blonde locks and provides the necessary look and feel of the graphic novel roots. All of this being said, there is something that just does not sit right with Atomic Blonde.

Putting aside the lesbian affair between the lead character and the french spy, Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella), the whole film lacks a moral core. This might seem like an oxymoronic statement for a spy film, but something that all of the other films mentioned in this review do contain a morality even though they are surrounded with violence and deception. Sitting through this film brought on a whole viewing experience that contained an uneasiness that was hard to identify. Then after much rumination and evaluation, it came down to the lack of any core values to believe in with this character. Despite the beauty of her wardrobe and the potential justice she seems to represent, it the end there is very little to like about her and the film. Like all of the make up she must put on to cover her wounds for the interview from her superiors, Atomic Blonde is tries to provide a beautiful cover to an ugly and unappealing premise.

Reel Dialogue: Morality

Morality: conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.

In the world of spies, can morality exist? With only the cinematic world to consider, the question has to be answered with a strong maybe. Compromise has to play a factor in this world of deception and manipulation, but at the core of this work there has to be a moral centre to drive people to continue the work.

The challenge is to know where to find this integral drive for justice or loyalty. Can it be merely found in the patriotic, familial or monetary?

Most of us will never directly experience the effects of this level of morality, but we still have to determine right and wrong for ourselves. We can look to mankind for examples, but inevitably people do fail the true test for a moral code eventually. There was only one person in history who set the standard for morality and proved that no one else could completely hold to this standard. This may sound like a hopeless statement, but Jesus did not leave humanity without a solution to this morality juxtaposition.

Are you intrigued? Romans Here is a link to a letter written by Paul called Romans, it opens up things on the subject of morality. It is a short read, but allows for consideration for where it base your morality.