Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Germany/Sweden/USA, 2017. 87Eleven, Closed On Mondays Entertainment, Denver and Delilah Productions, Film i Vast, T.G.I.M. Films. Screenplay by Kurt Johnstad, based on the Oni Press graphic novel series The Coldest City by Antony Johnston, Sam Hart. Cinematography by Jonathan Sela. Produced by A.J. Dix, Eric Gitter, Beth Kono, Kelly McCormick, Peter Schwerin, Charlize Theron. Music by Tyler Bates. Production Design by David Scheunemann. Costume Design by Cindy Evans. Film Editing by Elisabet Ronaldsdottir.
A British superspy (Charlize Theron) is sent to divided Berlin on the eve of the wall coming down, charged with recovering that age-old (and quite frankly worn out) MacGuffin of spy movies, the list of covert agents. She is put in touch with a charismatic field agent embedded on both sides of the wall (James McAvoy), meets a green French agent (Sofia Boutella) with whom she gets romantic, and goes in search of the Stasi agent (Eddie Marsan) who originally gave the spy database to her colleague before it was stolen by a KGB thug. To make things even more complicated, someone is a double agent and she needs to find out who it is before it’s too late.
Nothing about this plot sounds like new territory to even the least seasoned viewer, but this thankfully matters very little thanks to the fetishism of period aesthetics and a near-pornographic usage of eighties music on the soundtrack. Theron is magnificent in the lead, her icy stares as inspiring as her brightly neon-lit blonde hair, and as physically impressive in her action scenes as she is dramatically compelling with the dialogue.
Fun as it is, however, the film doesn’t move as smoothly as its star, director and former stunt man David Leitch has far more skill with directing fights than he does verbal interplay and the film lurches frequently between the switching of its gears. It’s highly diverting, though, quite satisfying by the time it reaches its conclusion, and the dreamy visuals really do make up for its flaws.