Critics give their verdict on the new Charlize Theron film
The first reviews are in for new Charlize Theron-starring film Atomic Blonde. The movie was released in the US last week (July 28) and will arrive in the UK on August 9.
Adapted from Antony Johnston’s 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City, the David Leitch-directed spy thriller follows Lorraine Broughton (Theron) – an MI6 spy – in Berlin in 1989 as she attempts to track down an espionage ring who are eliminating her fellow agents.
Starring alongside Theron are James McAvoy (who plays David Percival, the Berlin station chief who teams up with Broughton), Toby Jones and John Goodman.
In a four-star review, The Independent‘s Clarisse Loughrey wrote:” Atomic Blonde is a case of spectacle vs. storytelling, though the CGI wonders here are swapped out for something far more grounded. It’s a showcase, essentially, for the very best of what fight choreography and fight direction can offer, with Theron’s ability to do her own stunts a key boost.”
Empire were a little less favourable, writing: “It’s cool and brutal, but with such impressive action credentials you almost wish there were fewer plot devices to distract you as Charlize gets up and at ’em.”
Screen Rant praised the film for “a strong performance by Theron and thrilling action set pieces”, while The New York Post also applauded the lead, writing: “Theron makes one hell of a superspy, and it’s high time she got her John Wick moment”
Variety, meanwhile, criticised the film for what it saw as the “fundamental emptiness behind all the flash”. The New York Times similarly argued that the film is “little more than a series of artily violent, inventively choreographed fights glued together by nonsense and Charlize Theron.”
Meanwhile, Theron – who produced Atomic Blonde – recently said that she is trying to break the rules for women in action movies. “A lot of times studios or producers are not comfortable with seeing a woman with bruises,” she said. “We really wanted to pay attention to that authenticity.”
The actor also discussed the difficulties women face in filmmaking, saying there have been moments where “women really showcase themselves and kind of break glass ceilings”, but ultimately their success is not sustained.
“I am ashamed that I’m part of an industry that has never allowed a woman to work with a budget higher than what the budget has been on Wonder Woman,” she said. “That’s so fucking caveman-like. I am always hoping that this is the movie that’s going to change it and keep it for us.”