Charlize Theron Turns James Bond to James Blonde in New Film

Atomic Blonde is the story of a delightfully ass-kicking Mata Hari of the Iron Curtain, played by the resplendently accomplished Charlize Theron. The action spy thriller, directed by David Leitch (John Wick) and written by Kurt Johnstad (300), is based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart, published by Oni Press.

The South African-American actress and film producer − winner of the Academy Award for Monster in 2003 − continues to convey a new wave of feminism, after she displayed strong women on-screen, in films such as Æon Flux and Mad Max Fury Road. In Atomic Blonde,  Theron interprets Agent Lorraine Broughton, an undercover MI6 agent who is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.

The high-adrenaline action movie has put the talented actress to the test, as she truly suffered her craft twisting her knee and bruising her ribs. The Method actress (even though she claims to have abandoned that approach long ago, her performances still evoke Stanislavski’s Physical Action), went into some heavy training, learning numerous martial arts techniques for over two and a half months. The result was outstanding, as the director Leitch pointed out: “She could do 20 moves without cutting.” The combat scenes were so intense that once the shooting was over Charlize had to undergo extensive dental surgery, because she clenched down so hard on her jaw she cracked two teeth.

In Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron was also on a mission to defy gender norms, since her character is bisexual. The actress explained this clearly on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen: “It should be normalized by now. It’s something that I feel is not represented enough in cinema, and I feel that when you make movies, if you’re going to hold that mirror up and reflect society, then you should reflect society.” All cliche is transcended in the representation of this warrior woman, who beats men like a boxer wearing steamy above-the-knee boots and seduces Delphine Lasalle (an undercover French agent), unveiling her vulnerability to her. Through this relationship the story undoubtedly gets a more profound introspection of Lorraine’s humanity, as she examines her brokenness with a woman rather than with a man. During a time when LGBTQ characters have little representation on-screen, Atomic Blonde is to be praised for the way it handles the bisexuality of Agent Broughton.

The rest of the cast is equally outstanding: James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones are remarkable. However Theron outshines them all, for athletic endurance and majestic class. If Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did except backwards and in high heels, Charlize Theron surpasses Daniel Craig’s personification of the British Secret Service agent, as she beats men twice her size, tossing them over her shoulders and gets information out of unyielding people, all suited up in magnetically feminine outfits.

She utterly embodies a devilish 007 in heels. Her female Bond is Mephistophelian when it comes to fighting, but is also tenderhearted in distinguishing between villains and the faultless. Lorraine Broughton is the heroine that is needed in the zeitgeist of our era, as Charlize Theron epitomizes a modern woman who is stoic and physically dynamic, but does not lose sex appeal with her accoutrements or social grace.