Released on July 28, 2017 Rating:
Sensual and savage, Lorraine Broughton is the most elite spy in MI6, an agent who’s willing to use all of her lethal skills to stay alive during an impossible mission. With the Berlin Wall about to fall, she travels into the heart of the city to retrieve a priceless dossier and take down a ruthless espionage ring. Once there, she teams up with an embedded station chief to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.
Make no mistake – without Charlize Theron there would be no movie. I mean there could be a movie, but it would not be even a shell of what this movie is. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a movie so dependent on its star, and you would think that this would be a bad sign (it would be in any other case) but here it works.
Theron stars as Lorraine Broughton, a British spy we know little about, and sadly by the end of the movie that doesn’t change much. What we do know, without a doubt, is that this is one badass you don’t want to cross. But aside from the star, what does this movie have going for it? A few things, even if there are more things it doesn’t have going for it.
First, the fight scenes are beautifully choreographed. In truth, it was seeing these scenes in the trailer that made me decide to even see this movie, and there are plenty more throughout the film. It’s like watching intricate, graceful, powerful dances and really that is what we’re watching, but because it’s fighting it just happens to get the “action” stamp of approval. Even after seeing the film, I still have a montage of the film’s best going through my mind and I don’t want it to stop!
Next, there is something about this film, how it’s shot that just stuns. It isn’t obviously gorgeous like ***Valerian*** but it is beautiful in a way I can’t quite articulate, and it’s different. Maybe it’s the colors… I wish I knew. I just know this movie had “something” about the way it looked that I really responded to outside of the fight sequences, even if I’m not sure what that something is.
What isn’t working? The biggest thing for me is the pacing/writing/story/direction. I don’t think all of these things are wrong, I’m just trying to figure out where that “wrong thing” best fits. This movie had a lot of lulls. I mean I caught myself drifting to sleep between fight scenes a few times. And this movie is under two hours, so it’s not the longest movie in the world where this would be more understandable. Frankly it was beautiful/interesting scene, gorgeous fight scene, SNOOZE, beautiful fight scene, SNOOZE, two beautiful/interesting scenes, SNOOZE. I should never almost fall asleep at the movies – ever. I’m not sure if this was the pacing, because the movie already seems trimmed, or the direction or writing or what, but whatever it is, it’s a problem.
My other big gripe is the lack of character development in this film. This film is dependent on its star, so shouldn’t we know a lot about the lead role? What we do know we get in a few brief flashbacks and that’s it. I get that Broughton is a badass, but I don’t know anything else about her. Any serious attachments? Birthplace? Why she got into the spy game? Her motivation? Weaknesses to exploit? What makes her tick? These are things I should know by the end of a movie (honestly I should know most of this before the middle of the movie), but I still don’t know. I loved Theron as this character and her performance is awards-worthy – so, so powerful. But as to the character she plays – I don’t even know if I like her, because I don’t really know her. At all. And that’s a real shame.
In the end, I really did like this movie, even though I felt there was more to not like about it than actual positives, but what it did well, it did really, REALLY well. If I could figure out how to do it on my stars, I’d give this movie 3.75 stars, but per graphics it will have to settle for 3.5.
This is a film you can totally rent and be fine. But I think it might be in its final few days in most theaters (looking at the prospective schedules beginning tomorrow) so if you do want to see it in theaters, don’t wait. I don’t think it will be here much longer!