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Atomic Blonde Film

Updated on August 5, 2017
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With an Olelo community video series "in development," Ms. Freeman finds a few moments to share her film thoughts.

I really liked this edit

Following along

Now, if you’re trying to do an Internet search for this movie, you’ll come up with several hits, albeit shown in one category, Movies. Google’s great, but not at a wider hit ratio (as I like to call it). By the way, I don’t use Google or Bing at all, since both search engines are too narrowcasted for my searches. Same goes for Ask.

If you’ve been reading my other Hubs, you should know that most of the Movie content these days is being funneled from other multimedia sources: Books, Plays and Graphic Novels. For example, Jack Reacher, Fences and any Marvel movie.

So, with my investigative powers, I found a clue in a very likely place, a Magazine! In an interview with Charlize Theron, she mentions which publication was used as the basis for Atomic Blonde’s screenplay.

Then, I did my “Atomic Blonde” film homework, and purchased a copy of Antony Johnston's Graphic Novels:

  • The Coldest City.
  • The Coldest Winter.

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What is Meaning?

As is most current filmmaking, the Metaphor is becoming a way of explaining symbolism to the audience. Remember in the John Wick series, when most of the dialogue is direct, with an Assassin undertone.

  • “F* the management.”
  • “You working?”
  • “Oh, yes, dessert!”
  • “Please enjoy your party.”

In Logan, there is a lot of inferred dialogue, to either other events, people or places, which would have occurred in other X-Men films. But, there is also corresponding action with these events.

  • “This is Laura, the one I’ve been telling you about. She’s comes to save us.”
  • (Corresponding Action: Laura K.A.s in a female fashion)
  • “We are your friends.”
  • (More Action: Laura’s friends whose collective kid powers prove to be pretty awesome in saving the world from Transigen’s bad guys)

As in any good movie, the use of symbolism reflects meaning, either through character arc or moving the story along (which is plot). This is what gives a film a slight rating difference of 4 Pineapple Points versus 5 Pineapple Points.

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Symbolism in Johnston-Hart’s and Johnston-Perkins’ Work

Which brings this Hub around to the use of symbolism in The Coldest City and The Coldest Winter.

Atomic Blonde is based on The Coldest City, which was published by OniPress in May 2012. First, I was surprised when I placed my special order with a Barnes & Noble bookseller, to find out that this title was available in Hardcover only. My second Q: Why not another edition type (softcover)?

After reading both GNs, it becomes very obvious. As a true collector, you’ll want to have this one in Hardcover, because its style is unique, and you could look at it over and over. For both titles. Almost like Ghost in the Shell’s 3 collector set (#1,2, and 1.5), by Shirow Masamune.

Both Cold titles arrived separately, within a week of each other, but I’m glad I waited until both of them had arrived, before I started reading. In the words of Craig Kyle, he waited to read all of The Origins of the Wolverine, until the editions were published in Hardcover. Because if you truly enjoy story, then you’ll want to read the entire story in one sitting. Please feel free to scroll down to Recommended Reading Order.

Not only is it cold in Berlin, but both titles symbolize The Cold War in the intelligence community. All nations are involved in The Coldest City, whereas the focus of the pre-quel (The Coldest Winter) is mainly American, British, German and Russian spies. Seeing what they do to each other, and then, finding out who’s the better spy.

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I really liked both GNs

I liked both titles because:

1. Easy to read panels.

2. “Black and white” format leaves a lot of creative license to the Motion Picture version, which premiered on 7-28. Scroll down for my take on the film.

3. It provided an understanding of the story, characters and past historical timeline.

Not sure if Antony, Sam or Steven will be producing more GNs (or Films), but looking forward to anything in the pipeline.

If I read German

If I could read and understand German, then I would have read this title instead! It looks pretty good, in the Amazon preview window. Another option available for my worldwide Social Media readership.

Recommended Reading order

Even though The Coldest City was published first, the story timeline occurs after The Coldest Winter.

Accidentally, I chose to read The Coldest Winter first. Boy, am I glad I did, because this story is dedicated to David Perceval, who’s to become Lorraine Broughton’s contact in The Coldest City. The pre-quel really hooks the reader, with its thriller storyline. I couldn’t put it down, and finished it within 2 hours!

After reading The Coldest City, the story timelines make sense. It’s just under 8 years later, and David returns as Lorraine’s main contact in West Berlin. Here is an excerpt from Back Matter:

As Communism collapses and the Berlin Wall crumbles, an undercover MI6 spy is killed while carrying priceless information – a list containing the name of every spy in Berlin. But no list is found on his body. MI6 sends veteran operative Lorraine Broughton to recover the list. But she walks into a powder keg of social unrest, counter-espionage, defections gone bad, and secret assassinations…

Here’s Back Matter excerpt from The Coldest Winter:

EIGHT YEARS BEFORE “THE COLDEST CITY” … BERLIN FROZE.

After a string of botched assignments for MI6 in Berlin, David Perceval is being sent home. Even his final mission before leaving – the defection of a Soviet scientist – goes badly wrong, as the coldest winter for 30 years descends on Europe. With transport out of Berlin impossible, and the KGB searching everywhere for their lost scientist, Perceval must improvise a deadly game of cat and mouse through the frozen city to keep the Russians at bay, and deliver his own unique brand of revenge!

Further recommendations

After having read both “Black and white” GN’s, I feel compelled to purchase some of Antony, Sam’s or Steven’s other works.

According to The Coldest City’s Back Matter, Antony has written other GN’s, video games and books, including: Wasteland, Daredevil, Dead Space, Julius and Frightening Curves. One of the tie-ins he has is the reinvention of The Wolverine for Manga. It is no surprise that The Coldest City has been made into a Motion Picture, with Antony as one of its Co-producers.

Illustrator Sam Hart is known for newspaper and magazine illustration, as well as advertising storyboards. His style is unique, and I felt drawn into the story a bit more than I normally would with a color GN. Some of his comic art work includes Starship Troopers, Judge Dredd, Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood and Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur.

The Coldest Winter is the work of Antony and Illustrator Steven Perkins. Steven’s shared credits include Silent Hill, Max Payne, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Se7en, and Credence. His own GN series is Pacify.

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How the film differed from the GN

If you’ve the time and have read the recommended GN order, then see the film, you will appreciate the entire experience even more, than if you were a first-time viewer of just the film. The audience during my film viewing, had mixed Post-film reactions: either they liked it, or they didn’t (judging by one patron’s action of walking out before the Epilogue was done). The ones who liked it were female (“She’s a triple agent!”) and male (“I thought it was interesting to have a female in the role.”).

On-screen, the film had its own stylistic look. With the story’s timeline set in November and December of 1989, most of the popular New Wave tunes were used to either lead into or transition from a scene. The producers shot some of the movie in Hungary, so, personally, I liked the location shooting.

One of my current favorite Stunt people & actor

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If you’re a John Wick Fan, you will definitely like this film! One of my favorite actors-stunt player, Daniel Bernhardt, who was one of the stunt players for John Wick Ch 2, is acting in Atomic Blonde, no stunts this time! There are shades of John Wick-ish-ness throughout this film, blending in lots of real stunts and action sequences.

Briefly, some of the filmmakers had worked on 300, Dead Space, Prometheus, The Martian, Deadpool 2, Don’t Breathe, Captain America: Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and (the highly anticipated) Blade Runner: 2049. So, if you liked any of these films, then you will like Atomic Blonde.

While traveling on my numerous movie assignments, Standee Movie Posters had snippets of other film critics’ reviews of “The Stairwell” scene, where Charlize Theron’s character (Lorraine Broughton) needs to deliver the package across the Berlin Wall. It’s an important moment for both GN and film stories, as “she’s never lost a package before.” This ties in David Perceval’s character (again, great casting decision with James McAvoy), but with a little surprise ending for the GN reader. The screenplay leaves not only the GN reader with something unexpected happening on-screen, but also the regular film goer. And that’s what makes this film good.

Cast your vote

What did you think of Atomic Blonde?

See results

Another major milestone

Thank you to my loyal followers on Twitter and Facebook. I just made my One Year anniversary, producing quality Hubs for you. Keep it tuned in, and until the next film hub. Aloha, Pam

© 2017 Pam Freeman

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