Atomic Blonde follows Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), a top spy for the British MI6, as she’s sent to Berlin days before the Wall falls. Fellow spy James Gasciogne (Sam Hargrave, who also coordinated the stunts for the film) has been killed by a KGB agent for a piece of microfilm he had hidden inside a watch, which holds a list with the names of every active field agent in the Soviet Union. The list also contains the identity of Satchel, a double agent who has been selling intelligence to the Soviets.

Ambushed by West Berlin police while searching Gasciogne’s apartment, Lorraine begins to suspect her MI6 contact in Berlin — David Percival (James McAvoy) — is Satchel, since he was the only one who knew her location. While on the hunt for Satchel and the list, Lorraine also begins a relationship with French operative Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella).

The hunt for both the list and Satchel takes Lorraine across both sides of Berlin and ultimately leads up to the day the Berlin Wall came down (although it has nothing to do with the story — it just happens concurrently).

I had high expectations going into Atomic Blonde. Theron has built a large part of her career playing strong women — from serial killers to spies — and she’s usually a commanding presence in her films. While it was certainly easy to watch her fighting KGB goons, I found most of the movie difficult to follow. There are a lot of little pieces that tie into the larger picture and to catch them all, paying full attention is a must.

Atomic Blonde is visually captivating. I found myself looking at the film more that actually watching it. Whether it was wardrobe choices or the choreography of the fight scenes, I almost always found something fascinating

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