‘Atomic Blonde’ Review: A Brutally-Cool Spy Movie

Atomic Blonde feels like watching a combination of Drive and the Bourne series: It’s thrilling, action-packed, incredibly cool; pretty much everything you could want in a good espionage flick. That being said, this isn’t your typical spy movie – it’s way, way more bonecrushingly brutal.

Based on the Oni Press graphic novel series The Coldest City,  Atomic Blonde takes place in Berlin during the end of the Cold War. The story follows an undercover MI6 agent named Lorraine Broughton, played by Charlize Theron, who is sent to Berlin to recover covert information regarding undercover agents and investigate the murder of a fellow operative. Upon her arrival, she meets fellow British operative David Percival, played by James McAvoy, and French spy Delphine Lasalle, played by Sofia Boutella. It becomes clear very quickly that things are not what they appear and  Broughton must be careful with who she trusts, or she’ll never make it out of Berlin alive. 

While Atomic Blonde isn’t without flaws, Theron’s performance helps make you forget all about them. She brings such a cool intensity to the role and her ability to connect with the character and in turn, the audience, is what makes this performance so excellent. Although, she isn’t alone. McAvoy, Boutella and John Goodman, who plays a chief CIA officer, are all in top form. I mean, we all know Goodman is an incredible actor, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he’s great. And McAvoy, well, he just never seems to disappoint, does he? He sells the hell out of his drunk British operative character who doesn’t play well with others. That being said, it’s arguably Boutella who impresses the most (outside of Theron, that is). While Boutella hasn’t made as many films as the others, when one considers her memorable performances in The Mummy and the Kingsman: The Secret Service, coupled with this film, I would say we’re going to be seeing a lot more of her in the coming years.

Atomic Blonde (2017)
Charlize Theron

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from director David Leitch, as Atomic Blonde is essentially his directorial debut. Fortunately, he crushes it in his freshman effort, which is a good thing because Leitch is set to direct Deadpool 2, a movie in need of a director that can follow up on Tim Miller’s sensational original. Now, as mentioned above, there are aspects of Atomic Blonde that could have been better (and I’ll get to those in a moment), but when you’re new to the director’s seat like Leitch is, you arguably deserve a little leeway. And really, he nails the most important things when it comes to a film like Atomic Blonde: action sequences, dialogue and tone  — all things that made Deadpool so freakin’ badass! In other words, it’s safe to say Deadpool 2 is in good hands. 

While the story wavers awkwardly at times, the acting and brutal action make this movie well worth watching. The soundtrack is pretty great as well, creating a tone that suits the intensity of the film’s visuals. Above all else though, see Atomic Blonde for Charlize Theron. I wouldn’t go as far as calling her the new “James Bond”, but I would say that Lorraine Broughton is no joke. She will break your face in heels and not even break a sweat.


While I didn’t love it, Atomic Blonde was still a great movie and I would highly recommend checking it out. The acting was excellent, the story was entertaining and the fight scenes were absolutely brutal. Vodka on the rocks, anyone?

Riley Jones (@moviemanjones)

Riley Jones (@moviemanjones)

Riley is the Managing Editor of Goliath. When he's not at the movie theatre or binging some new tv series, he likes to spend his time shooting hoops and play MTG. He doesn't like 'Breaking Bad,' loves 'The Simpsons,' hates mayonnaise, and has been repping the Toronto Raptors since '95. Follow him on IG and Twitter @moviemanjones.