I just got out of a screening of Atomic Blonde, a movie set in the midst of Berlin in 1989 as the Wall is about to come tumbling down. It’s an odd little flick—a hybrid of an action film and an intricately plotted spy-thriller, a bit like James Bond but with more cinematic flair and a far subtler plot or a dumbed down Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that takes place in the John Wick universe.
What it isn’t is an Olympian-level view of American-Soviet relations as the primary symbol of the Cold War was dismantled brick by brick. I’m sure there’s an interesting movie to be made about the heated phone calls taking place on opposite sides of the world, one that focuses on the domestic Soviet intrigue as Gorbachev watched the Evil Empire crumble into dust—a Thirteen Days by way of The Lives of Others, perhaps. But this isn’t that film. And it wouldn’t make much sense—nor would it be particularly useful to potential audiences, nor would it be particularly useful as a way of measuring the work of art in question—to write a piece of criticism arguing that an entirely different type of movie would have been, well, entirely different. Better, perhaps; more revealing of a time and a place, maybe. More to your specific interests? Sure, why not.
But, mostly, just different.
Which brings me to Dunkirk.Read More