Atomic Blonde lost me in parts and the story is not very well told. But I loved seeing Charleze Theron embodying that 70s comic-book via Helmut Newton clichéd lesbian dominatrix character. I loved the look, the styling, and the fight scenes. And it’s got a marvellous cast: James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan and, quickly becoming my new favourite, Sofia Boutella. Lots of great 80s tunes, plus it’s set in Berlin just as the wall is coming down. Lots to love. I think it will have a long afterlife across various platforms.
A look at panels from The Coldest City, the graphic novel by Anthony Johnson on which Atomic Blonde is based on is illuminating. The look and styling is completely different: she’s not a blonde for one thing. The French agent is a man, so the whole lesbian Sofia Boutella element is an interesting twist. Also, the James McAvoy character seems about twenty years older in the book. The film nonetheless follows the narrative of the graphic novel extremely closely. Fascinating in terms of how they’ve re-visualised and styled for the film
This is a trial episode of a possible podcast that Michael Glass of ‘Writing About Film’ and I are posting primarily to get feedback. It’s done as an mp4 so you can play it on your computer’s usual player, like a video. I have this romantic idea of the movies as a conjunction of place, people and experiences, all different for each of us, a context in which individual and separate beings try to commune, where the individual experience overlaps with the communal and where that overlapping is demarcated by how we measure the differing responses between ourselves and the rest of the audience: do they laugh when we don’t (and what does that mean?); are they moved when we feel like laughing (and what does that say about me or the others) etc. The idea behind this podcast is to satiate the urge I sometimes have when I see a movie alone – but that I also hope is shared by at least some of you — to eavesdrop on what others say. What do they think? How does their experience compare to mine? Snippets are overhead as one leaves the cinema and are often food for thought. A longer snippet of such an experience is what this podcast hopes to provide: it’s two friends chatting immediately after a movie. It’s unrehearsed, meandering, slightly convoluted, certainly enthusiastic, and well informed, if not necessarily on all aspects a particular work gives rise to, certainly in terms of knowledge of cinema in general and considerable experience of watching different types of movies and watching movies in different types of ways. It’s not a review. It’s a conversation. One roughly transmuted into another format so that you may overhear. We know the design of the image is lousy; and that the transitions between snippets are roughly cut. But what do you think of the idea, the title, the format? Feedback and suggestions most gratefully received.