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Instead, it’s a cod-Le-Carré-like tale of espionage and counter-espionage.A British agent has been executed by a freelance Russian thug, who has stolen ‘the list’ that the Brit had just received from a nervous Stasi defector (Eddie Marsan). One of the weaknesses of the film – directed by David Leitch, who has worked on both the Deadpool and John Wick franchises – is that it’s never quite clear.
It’s Broughton’s job to get the list back and unmask Satchel.Adapted from the graphic novel The Coldest City, it combines a noir-ish, Sin City-like narrative knowingness, which invites us not to take the whole thing too seriously, with the slick visual style of an expensive advert or music video. It’s set in November 1989, just as the Berlin Wall was about to come down.But this – as the introductory caption informs us – is not that story.Younger readers, similarly, may find their minds dwelling on Scarlett Johansson, although whether they are reminded of the eponymous Lucy, Major in Ghost In The Shell or Black Widow in the Avengers films will be for them to decide.Those readers who are splendidly in-between, however, will soon find themselves running out of fingers – La Femme Nikita, Angelina Jolie’s Salt, Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil, Uma Thurman as The Bride in Kill Bill, Jolie – again – in Tomb Raider… So there’s nothing remotely new or surprising about Charlize Theron’s new film; not even for her.But then the Russians did somehow know she was a British agent right from the moment she stepped off the plane. I loved the late Eighties setting, which provides a very good excuse for a cool period soundtrack featuring Siouxsie And The Banshees, Depeche Mode and A Flock Of Seagulls.
I loved seeing Berlin (in real life, filming took place in Budapest and Berlin, with extra Berlin Wall added digitally), which was a cool city then and, nearly 30 years later, is almost as cool now.
The South African-born actress has already had a couple of goes at the sexy-but-deadly-female-action-hero genre, firstly in the 2005 sci-fi variation on the theme, Aeon Flux, followed a decade later by her impressive turn as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Now, and having turned 42 last week, she makes it three with, whatever you make of the overall end result, the roughest, toughest yet.
Something nasty is about to happen to the modestly happy couple known only as ‘M’ (Rooney Mara) and ‘C’ (Casey Affleck).
Sure enough, we eventually cut to an unlikely-looking car crash outside their home. A Ghost Story turns out to be too arty for its own commercial good.
Theron's Broughton (left) sports so many variations on the smoky eye that you wonder whether she has any time left for actual spying at all, let alone a lesbian liaison with Sofia Boutella (right), a young French beauty This is a film that positively panders to its predominantly young, predominantly male target audience, although a scene that sees a young woman in sexy underwear being horribly beaten up by a male attacker is definitely a step too far.