I was feeling quite optimistic going to see this movie, after my run of stellar movies in the last few weeks, and what with this being another war (albeit a different ‘colder’ one) given it’s stylish looks in trailers, there was plenty to be optimistic about, unfortunately this is the first film in a while that left me feeling disappointed.
In cold-war era Berlin, a female operative is sent into Eastern Berlin to find a fellow operative gone rogue and to find a list containing the names of all the operatives in MI:6, along the way she has to deal with rogue agents and the communist regime.
Let me first say from the start that this is by no means a bad film, it’s not a particularly good film either and given it’s stellar cast this movie had every opportunity to be brilliant, alas it was not to be.
The main problem was it’s pacing and scripting, a good 60-75% of the film meanders around different plot points with little to no connectivity, at one point in the film, the plot essential MacGuffin, the list, went unmentioned and unsearched for for a good half hour, while the protagonist, played by Charlize Theron, and the rogue agent she was searching for, James McAvoy, get side-tracked doing various things, oh and I saw the third act twist coming from a mile off which is never good while building intrigue in a movie.
It also feels like a waltz we’ve all danced before too, the Cold War setting is ironically, extremely cold, teamed with Theron’s extremely by the numbers straight-faced action girl fails to carry the bulk of the weight. We’ve all seen Russians getting killed during the Cold War a million times between films, TV shows and video games and while I can see I might be hypocritical after singing the praises of a WWII film last week, that did things differently, this just feels like every Cold War story we’ve ever seen.
It’s not all bad however, McAvoy is great in his role as an unhinged operative deeply immersed in the underground Berlin scene to the point of almost losing his mind is a treat, dominating every scene he’s in, as he has a tendency too, some of the later action scenes are almost exhilarating, burdened only by somewhat unbelievably resilient henchmen, one of whom took three stabbings and two shootings to keep down and lastly, the music provided by Tyler Bates who oversaw the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 soundtrack on top form with more select choices from the time period, he seems to have found a nice little niche.
In summary, while not being a great film, it has it’s moments and while I wouldn’t recommend it, it’s certainly better than a certain Sony Animations film currently doing the rounds. But if you miss it you haven’t missed much.