SXSW Review: Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde satisfies a lust unlike the ones fulfilled by taste or touch. The need is met as you see it. Imagine the brain salivating at the sight like the tongue does preceding a meal, only, at the same time, it's feeding.
The sustenance funnelled: symmetric frames, color-sucked and substituted for cold cathodes in electrified tubes. And the platinum blonde siren that yields that neon, her ice-bath, Stolichnaya on the rocks cold, and her capacity to kill. That’s M16 agent Lorraine Broughton, Charlize Theron utilising every twitch & flicker of her Teutonic skull.
Then, the 80’s synthpop, given full allowance on the reins, will just about put you over. But it’s a sugar high and you’ll crash. Plot-side cacophony ends up spinning a significant ball and chain, and sometimes the relentless hot needle injection of ear-splitting synth reaps a dud-high. But, when the hit takes, you rejoice like no other drug, and withdraw at the sound of exposition.
More on Charlize, her prominent spine, and stocking laced legs, which the camera pays credence to in emphatic moves that inspect her top to bottom, bottom to top, and then left to right when the plot stacks atop her another pair of sensuous limbs. Those limbs belong to Sofia Boutella (Who sported swords for legs in Kingsman: The Secret Service) as a French Spy in hosiery, once a subject of suspicion, then, ultimately, one of sex.
It’d all feel so slanted towards Leitch’s big boy fantasy if Theron didn’t totally own it. But she does, in spite of the suffocating aesthetics & tracklist, it’s Theron’s film. James McAvoy does a fair bit as a sleazeball named Percival, perhaps sardonically so after the loyal knight of the Round Table, too. And the rest of the cast'll do mighty fine as talking heads in an espionage web you couldn’t care less for.
But damn, it looks and sounds so pretty.