Thursday, August 17, 2017

Atomic Blonde (movie review)

Wonder Woman remembers the mission, which is to save humanity from corruption by the devil (aka Mars). But in attempting to save us, she has to join the fray, a Joan of Arc figure, with knights ever eager to serve under her command.

Fast forward to Lorraine, two wars later (really one) and now at a signature apex, the convergence of the two Germanys as symbolized by a wall-divided Berlin overcoming its internal divisiveness.

As the opening narrative makes clear, this story explores a violent underbelly of this convergence chapter, through a favored lens when exploring this era:  that of the spy thriller comic book genre. Le Carré uses a similar backdrop sometimes.

Some will raise their eyebrows at my use of "comic book" and ask what's so funny about all that head bashing, more like Streets of New York.

I think because of the superpowers on display, an ability to play these violent games that shows some purpose and intent, not just people caught up willy-nilly in awkward conditioned-reflexing.

The martial arts make for some bloody ballet, with protagonists appearing somewhat in control of their own destinies, more as predators in the know than as helpless victims. They serve and protect the rest of us, if cast as heroes (heroines).

Both Wonder Woman and Atomic Blonde use similar wartime spy thriller motifs, with their focus on Amazons (female warriors).

Rome, Italy, where I was during early Cold War years, was another hotbed of intrigue and secrets, with all the high fashion and flashy cars to match.

I was too young to pose as an adult of any stature, but I soaked up some of that James Bond culture at the English language movie theaters, the Archimedes especially (near Piazza Euclide).

Berlin over ten years later was more into grunge and proto-punk from the looks of things here recreated.  Disaffected youth didn't want to grow up with some Iron Curtain through their psychology.

The Korean DMZ stands out as another Berlin Wall of today.

These spies did not have the Internet, nor much in the way of social media.  The film takes us back to when people used ordinary landline telephones and didn't have to deal with strong encryption.

I most recently saw John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane and couldn't quite shake the idea that this was a flashback to before his retirement to that bunker, just a passing thought.  American dads can be pretty crazy.

Lorriane smokes and drinks and lives a punishing lifestyle, which will catch up with her later.

I was interested to learn that Charlize Theron, who plays Lorriane, is natively Afrikaans with American English her second language (IMDB). I wonder if she knows Yolandi Visser.

I did make it to Berlin before the wall came down, took the tour.  Our train was actually East German, terminating on the east side in Berlin, starting with a ferry trip from Sweden I believe it was. We were unusual for American tourists, not the first time.  Dad liked to plan interesting trips.