The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.
This is a good solid cold war spy story with plenty of action. I have to say that I liked this movie a lot.
I expected a fairly shallow over the top action flick with a sexy but not very bright kick-ass chick as the main protagonist. To my surprise I got something quite a bit more than that. Sure the movie is quite “Hollywoodish”, it is supposed to be a action movie after all, but it is surprisingly well done and Charlize Theron is great as the sexy, not at all stupid and very much kick-ass chick.
As a bit of a twist the story is told in the form of a debriefing at the MI6 headquarter. This type of storytelling can be a bit miss or hit since, unless the writer is good at it, it has a tendency to spoil the movie and the events already when the movie starts. I would say that in this one they got it right.
The movie is frequently quite dark and gritty which of course is fitting with the former East Germany setting. To my great delight they did not stoop to the usual dark, almost black and white, boring type of footage that you too frequently get. Instead the dark and gritty scenes are filmed in a “darkish” blue hue and the scenes actually have a lot of color in them.
The story is a fairly standard spy-is-given-a-mission-behind-the-wall-and-it-all-goes-to-hell one. As a story goes it is really not much to write home about and it has the usual plot holes and illogical twists. What makes this movie good is how it is implemented.
As I have already mentioned Charlize Theron is great in her role. She is sharp tongued, hot and kicks ass. Unlike many protagonists in movies like this one she not only administers pain but she receives it as well. Actually the movie starts with scenes of her showing off bruises all over her body (yes all of it).
To fill out the picture we get some brutal, and I mean brutal, KGB agents, the traitorous colleague, the defector and a few other characters. Together they embark on a roller coaster ride of spy work, chases, (brutal) ass kicking etc. All of it very well done as far as I am concerned. It is not the silly fx loaded blow-everything-up kind of action but instead up-personal-beat-them-up action.
I have to say that I quite liked the end of the movie as well. The twist at the end was maybe not the biggest surprise of the year but I definitely liked it. I really do not like movies that fizzles out with a bunch of loose ends and objectives not achieved. This movie is, to my great enjoyment, not one of those.
To me this movie was really good. Certainly better than I expected.