“It’s a double pleasure to deceive the deceiver”

Standard

Atomic Blonde is one of those films that still needs work in some areas but is still really well done for what it is… An action/spy film noir set in 1989 featuring a strong female lead.

For me, I had to see it a second time to see what I missed the first, and really focus on the details.

IMG_20170815_201945983

I found what I missed, and then I seen all the pieces come together like a jigsaw puzzle. I had an “oh” facepalm moment.

This film is based on of the graphic novel “The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston. Which now I need to get my hands on to compare how the film stands up to the original work.

the-coldest-city-book

I got so excited about this film that I started writing my review on a Tim Hortons napkin…

IMG_20170815_220655053

I have to say, with all the films (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Baby Driver) recently having soundtracks that really not only suit the film and style and era but are a real part of the film, Atomic Blonde is definitely one of those.

My number one compliment to the soundtrack is the inclusion of the German songs, not only are a lot of the ’80s era music from Germany, the original song is actually in German, and to feature the original tracks in this film are a massive homage and extremely respectful to the artists. Major Tom, by Peter Schilling, is his tribute to David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Most North Americans probably haven’t even heard the German version, but you’ll know it to hear it.

Being set in the ’80s, it’s very important that the music be from that era and they nailed it on the head! Not to mention the score has a ’80s feel to it as well as it sounds a bit (in my opinion since I listen to A LOT of ) industrial German. The composer, Tyler Bates, did an incredible job and has the credentials to back it up, working with Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, worked on the Guardians of the Galaxy, and John Wick.

Speaking of John Wick, the director of this film, David Leitch, is uncredited as a director of a few scenes of John Wick, in which you can tell he pulled the style. Since both films are spy thrillers. His next film is Deadpool 2.

Leitch did well in his direction of this film. But I’m curious to see the director’s cut, because there were a few spots in which the film seemed like it was going to end but then it kind of paused and kept going. I’m not sure if this was intentional or if there are more scenes that were cut that perhaps tie into the choppiness that is the theatrical version.

A few other good things I will say about the inclusion of things in this film is the actual footage of a quote by Regan at the beginning, “We don’t mistrust each other because we’re armed; we’re armed because we mistrust each other.”- Ronald Reagan; and the actual footage of MTV anchor Kurt Loder, after the Berlin wall came down.

 

Characters:

Charlize Theron: Atomic Blonde herself Lorraine Broughton

She did well as her character but something about the blonde hairstyle just didn’t quite sit right. As the main focus of the film she brought a badass tough girl, no bullshit attitude but still with human emotions and perhaps flaw? as a spy this may be part of a tell… as you’d think most spies would have to keep their emotions in check. I won’t give away anything, but say this, pay attention to every detail you can in this film if you really want to figure it out. 😉

James McAvoy: David Percival MI6 Agent

As Broughton’s Berlin contact and superior, he’s also got some skeletons hiding in his closet. Can the audience see them in plain sight? He’s a rat bastard you like to hate, mostly due to his cunning grin. McAvoy does an incredible job playing this character and pulls off the “[h]andsome, late 30’s, disastrous Sinead O’Connor hair.”

Sofia Boutella: Delphine Lasalle

Without giving away exactly who she is, I’ll say that she’s naive and innocent, a bit of punk rock meets Flashdance. But unfortunately Boutella tries a bit too hard to pull this persona off, which is a shame since she did really well as Jaylah in Star Trek: Beyond. The style looks good on her, but, I feel the character isn’t fully developed. Perhaps the director’s cut may shed some light?

I loved this film, as much as it’s not completely fantastic. I think it’s the ’80s era and the fact it’s centered around the Cold War and the Berlin Wall that intrigued me the most. Since well, my favourite band Rammstein grew up behind the wall, I’d be curious to know what they think of the film.

 

 

Advertisements

The Girl on the Train: Book and Film

Standard

*May contain spoilers*

While the book has its merits, I felt the film was able to better convey the thriller of the story.

To elaborate, the book does a good job in setting up the three main characters and how each of their own lives and stories intertwine with each other. Like with all well written books it has great description of setting. However, unless you know the region personally, ie England (where the book is set) it’s much harder to envison. If the film had kept the original setting, England, instead of “Hollywoodizing”(New York in this case), it may have been on par with the book.

To continue further with the visual notion, the film not only has this aspect but also the added bonus of audio. Not only do you hear the characters speak but a good film score adds incredible depth to a story played out on screen. This is especially true with thrillers, giving the added element of suspense and other deep emotions.

To be honest, I did see the film first, so many could put forward the obvious argument. However, I have read books before seeing their film versions and have had the same feeling of the film being better than the book. It can vary depending on the “hook” either the novel or film has. For some, it doesn’t matter which was experienced first, otherwise why would you bother with both in the first place?

The only other real qualm I had, was the nature of Rachel and Scott’s “relationship.” The longing to know how the story would possibly be better or worse or neutral if, in the film, they has slept together as they did in the book. Or as viewers, were we supposed to pick up on the implied notion they slept together when Scott spent the night at Rachel’s and we see her cuddled up next to him?

The other thing people tend to forget about is the “show don’t tell” rule. It’s especially important in film, that being a visual medium. The book does a good job in “showing” the reader the details we need to know, i.e. setting, character profile, etc.. I found the film did well in its adaptation, despite “Hollywoodizing” the setting.

The way in which the story goes back and forth telling each character’s point of view is excellently written. As a reader, I didn’t find that I got lost in the story or confused as to whose point of view I was reading about. As a viewer, I found the film does a great job in doing the same.

Only thing about the book I didn’t like was how Tom told the story of what happened to Megan. I quite prefer the film version, which shows a third person point of view, as Rachel recalls what she saw of what happened to Megan and how it all ties together.

Both are excellent pieces of thrilling art. I highly recommend them both, to the avid reader and moviegoer.