- Very impressed with Leitch’s exercise in style
- 80’s Berlin-chic, drenched in neon in every scene—nods to Refn’s Drive
- Strong supporting cast but it is Charlize Theron’s show- she’s impeccable- nods to Delon in Le Samourai and Bond of course
- A clear and admirable dedication to an era and place—we have David Bowie, George Michael, Hasslefhof mentions, Reagan on the tv and radio—the wall coming down as a backdrop adds immediacy
- Love the nods to cinema—we have Tarkovsky’s Stalker playing in a theater, we have the Hitchcock Rope-like tracking (oner) shot simulations with characters or objects blocking the camera—the car chase take reminds me of the car rolling down the hill action scene (though not on that level) in Children of Men
- The noteworthy long-take on stairs (which bleeds into the scene in the car) is ridiculously well-done—clearly Leitch has artistic ambitions – not sure it’s in the archives without this stunning oner
- I do wish I cared a bit more about the characters, the stakes, for some of the more drawn out action set pieces
- “Voices Carry”- song perfectly used the first time— if a little on the nose—then we had flock of seagulls during the chase scene—might be a bit much
- McAvoy is fun to watch as always- not exactly Welles as Harry Lime as a monster in Berlin (nods to Third Man) but still
- Could do without the epilogue with Theron as a brunette
- Highly Recommend
Wow! Very impressive. Thanks for sharing!
Incredible film, in every frame there’s artistic interest. Stunning. Do you still have it a Recommend or you moved it a little higher ? I’m saying it because it’s in your 100 best of the decade (although the last on the list ). I think it rightly deserves to be there and maybe I’d move it 5-10 spots higher.
@Cinephile– So happy to hear it! Stunning indeed. You’re right – I’ve moved it higher since. It just stuck with me (saw this July 2018). It’s a bit unfortunate I have to write my review right away (i know critics are burdened with the same task) while the film is fresh in my memory— but some linger on and some don’t. I call it artistic reverberations. It’s another reason I like doing the decade, year-end and other updates…. It forces me to compare and there are plenty of films i marker higher than Atomic Blonde initially that didn’t make my top 100 of the decade.
Recently rewatched this myself and was far more impressed than I had been on my initial viewing a few years ago. Obviously the single-take stairwell fight scene is astonishing, but there are many other impressive sections as well. And it also cements Theron (after Fury Road) as a legit action icon.
This page needs fixing.
@Zane- appreciate it- fixed now. Thank you
Drake, have you seen Bullet Train? Do you think it’s archivable? I’m thinking of seeing it this week.
@George- I have not seen it yet. I’ll get to it- but the reviews sort of scared me away- at least enough not to rush out and prioritize it. If you do go- please let me know what you think
Finally caught a viewing of this:
A great deal of fun, very Bond like, ridiculous at times no doubt but a blast to watch
“I do wish I cared a bit more about the characters, the stakes, for some of the more drawn out action set pieces”
agree 100% – a visual treat much of the time and hugely enjoyable but yeah I actually wish they put more emphasis on strengthening the character’s backstory, hell even Taken (2008) puts more emphasis in this area. The fighting scenes were masterfully done, reminded me a bit of Kill Bill in this regard (but obviously lacks the tremendous character study and narrative of Kill Bill)
The list is sortof a MacGuffin a la Hitchcock’s 39 Steps (1935)
The soundtrack is phenomenal and is effective in establishing the era the story takes place in…I love the Clash, London Calling in particular
Also agree on the unnecessary last 10 min, I have only seen once so it’s possible I missed some potential clues to this ending but overall didn’t love this
Still I think this is HR/MS leaning toward MS
Caught this last night for the first time after watching Bullet Train (2022) the night before. I have to say, respectfully, that your initial interpretation of “not sure this is in the archives without this oner” is the correct one to me, personally. Leitch clearly has a lot of control over the art direction of the movie, and the action is great when it’s there. Yet, when I ask myself why I view art (in any medium), I come up with two *essential* reasons: 1) To learn something from the artist, and/or 2) To be entertained.
This movie fails on both counts for me, with the exception of the oner. For a thriller, I felt a lack of thrills. The stakes felt nonexistent to me, despite the constant repeating of them, the surprises were either unsurprising, or felt like a cheap “gotcha!”. It felt like an exercise in the superficial, which is a shame since Theron and McAvoy performed well.
By comparison, Bullet Train was such fantastic fun (and stylish to boot), that I actually checked out the book Shibumi from the library. No doubt this is my opinion, but I’m glad Leitch has developed as a director.