I recently watched the movie Atomic Blonde. What I particularly liked about the movie was how the protagonist actually carried her injuries along with her for the duration. Much like how in the Bourne series the MC stays injured (even across films!). So many characters are so super human, after all the damage, they pop up unscathed movements later. While I can certainly enjoy escapism (though I prefer the Craig Bond over the old-school), things that are more gritty and realistic appeal more to me. For instance, I like Reservoir Dogs and Chinatown because of that element.
The movie also had a very eclectic visual pallet, though I found it jarring a time or two. For instance, the TV in the MC’s hotel always had these glaring lights on it. The music was great, as it reminded me a lot of my youth. With the appropriate fogging effects of time, I can look back at the era (late 80’s) with nostalgia.
This may be considered a spoiler, if you haven’t seen the flick. Stop here if you want to watch it pristine. I’ve been studying screenplay writing with the idea of becoming a director at some point (I’ve finally decided to get off the fence and intend to direct a feature on my own nano budget later this fall; I’ll try and remember to update this with a link when it’s gelled more) and occasionally, when I watch a movie, I’ll think about a particular scene, how it was filmed, how the script would have to be written to convey the imagery, that sort of thing. I felt it was harmless.
Well, I had a disturbing revelation during the lesbian sex scene: I couldn’t relax and enjoy it, I kept focusing on camera placement, what the actresses were doing, the very interesting choice to use mirror-like surfaces to double the view, that sort of thing. I felt violated, in a way, that I couldn’t just be in the scene (if you can’t guess, this sort of thing is a big turn on to me). I really hope that the more I get into screenplays and directing I don’t lose what attracted me to it in the first place: the joy in watching movies.
I’ve been beta reading a lot over the last year, but I easily partition that reading because I do it on my computer and read for entertainment with the dead-tree versions. Maybe I’ll have to watch movies for learning on the computer as well, as a way to try and keep my watching compartmented.
Something else disturbed me, but as a ‘refrigerator moment‘. I felt there was too much grunting and yelling going on during the fight scenes. While I suppose unskilled fighters would make a racket to attempt to be intimidating, I would imagine (indeed, that’s exactly how I did my character in my first novel) that skilled fighters would minimize the racket they make, as they don’t want to give away their positions. I imagine spies as being particularly resistant to making noises as they kill people. It didn’t jar me out of the movie, it’s pretty much the only way those sorts of scenes are filmed (I like the Bourne fight scenes so much because they are silent and deadly), but when I later thought about how I would do something like that I’d rather have my fighters be largely silent.
If you like realistic action/adventure, I highly recommend this one.