ATOMIC BLONDE — Review by Susan Granger

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As the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989, a behind-the-scenes spy thriller was unfolding, revolving around undercover MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), who was dispatched to retrieve information vital to the safety of Western intelligence. As she’s being debriefed by her handlers (Toby Jones, John Goodman), it’s revealed that another MI6 agent, James Gascoigne, had a list of every espionage officer in the city on both sides of the Cold War conflict. Comtonue reading…

When he was killed by a Russian agent (Johannes Johannesson), the list went missing. MI6 wants it back since it contains the identity of an infamous double-agent named Satchel.

In order to achieve her objective, Boughton must singlehandedly battle not only the KGB but also Stasi operatives, Allied spies and even rogue members of her own organization, like self-serving psychopathic David Percival (James McAvoy) and predatory Delphine Lesalle (Sofia Boutella), a sultry French operative who winds up in bed with her.

None of this poses much of a problem since Boughton’s seemingly fearless and ferocious, taking on teams of thugs and – in one memorable sequence – knocking them down a stairwell, one by one, while looking stunning in shiny thigh-high boots and sipping tumblers of Stoli-on-the-rocks.

Working from screenwriter Kurt Johnstad’s convoluted adaptation of Anthony Johnston’s graphic novel “The Coldest City,” director David Leitch (“John Wick”), who once stunt-doubled for Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, trained Charlize Theron for three months to embody the emotionless, enigmatic heroine in stunning fight sequences, chronicled by French cinematographer Jonathan Sela to the beat of ‘80s Europop.

Battered and bruised, Theron traded her vanity for a swollen face and sealed-shut eye. Which is actually not surprising since she previously won an Academy Award playing a hefty serial killer in “Monster” (2003), directed by Patty Jenkins who subsequently helmed “Wonder Woman.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Atomic Blonde” is an adrenaline-propelled, smashing 6, steely and stylish.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.