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‘Atomic Blonde’ review: Forget the plot and focus on the visuals

Charlize Theron plays a spy who cuts a nasty swathe through Berlin during the days of the collapse of the Wall.

Bottle openers, screwdrivers, heels and numerous other pointed objects are put to good use in Atomic Blonde, a preposterously plotted spy thriller with a barely coherent plot, bone-crunching action and relentless slickness. The cast is packed with heavyweights and the setting – Berlin in the days of the collapse of the Wall – is significant, but David Leitch’s adaptation of the graphic novel The Coldest Day by Anthony Johnston and Sam Hart isn’t the kind of movie to get bogged down by Cold War politics or debates on democracy.

Instead, Leitch, who co-directed the similarly vacuous but equally stylish John Wick (2014), devotes his energies to creating a visually striking world that pops with striking cinematography (by Jonathan Sela), atmospheric colour coding, surgical editing and spectacular action sequences, all set to a soundtrack of pop and punk rock classics (Depeche Mode, Clash, Nena, even George Michael). There are songs when scenes need them and songs even when they don’t, like an overstuffed Bollywood production, as though to move far away from the movie’s literary source.

Elsewhere, the camera swirls and twirls around its characters, often resting on the starkly framed faces of the numerous spies and rogue agents that populate the movie’s universe. One face dominates – Charlize Theron, whose driving skills in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) marked her out as an action heroine to rival fellow A-lister Angelina Jolie. Theron is well cast as the chain-smoking MI6 agent with the seductive rumble, high-kicking skills and structured clothing. Theron is more athletic than histrionic, which helps since the role does not require her to be anything more than a female James Bond.

Lorraine (Theron) is sent to Berlin on a three-fold mission: to find out who killed a fellow spy, prevent a list of agents in the Soviet Union from getting onto the black market, and smoke out a double agent. Matters get complicated and convoluted when Lorraine meets Berlin station agent David (James McAvoy), whose convenient cover is a DJ in a grungy nightclub, and French agent Delphine (Sofia Boutella).

Lorraine’s instrumentalist sexual encounters with Delphine undermine any suggestion that female empowerment is at work here – the entanglement is of the gratuitous kind, on par with Lorraine dragging on her cigarette and fighting her way past thickets of KGB agents.

The cast has several underutilised big names, including Eddie Marsan as an East German spy who wants to defect and Toby Jones and John Goodman as British and American station chiefs respectively. McAvoy lights up his scenes, but it is Theron’s unchanging visage and her claim to the female Bond crown that steer the show from one head-scratching but ravishing scene to the next. Berlin’s shabby chic contributes its own bit to the atmospherics, of which there is no shortage whatsoever.

Atomic Blonde.
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What’s the difference between ‘a’ washing machine and a ‘great’ washing machine?

The right machine can save water, power consumption, time, energy and your clothes from damage.

In 2010, Hans Rosling, a Swedish statistician, convinced a room full of people that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution. In the TED talk delivered by him, he illuminates how the washing machine freed women from doing hours of labour intensive laundry, giving them the time to read books and eventually join the labour force. Rosling’s argument rings true even today as it is difficult to deny the significance of the washing machine in our everyday lives.

For many households, buying a washing machine is a sizable investment. Oddly, buyers underestimate the importance of the decision-making process while buying one and don’t research the purchase as much as they would for a television or refrigerator. Most buyers limit their buying criteria to type, size and price of the washing machine.

Visible technological advancements can be seen all around us, making it fair to expect a lot more from household appliances, especially washing machines. Here are a few features to expect and look out for before investing in a washing machine:

Cover your basics

Do you wash your towels every day? How frequently do you do your laundry? Are you okay with a bit of manual intervention during the wash cycle? These questions will help filter the basic type of washing machine you need. The semi-automatics require manual intervention to move clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub and are priced lower than a fully-automatic. A fully-automatic comes in two types: front load and top load. Front loading machines use less water by rotating the inner drum and using gravity to move the clothes through water.

Size matters

The size or the capacity of the machine is directly proportional to the consumption of electricity. The right machine capacity depends on the daily requirement of the household. For instance, for couples or individuals, a 6kg capacity would be adequate whereas a family of four might need an 8 kg or bigger capacity for their laundry needs. This is an important factor to consider since the wrong decision can consume an unnecessary amount of electricity.

Machine intelligence that helps save time

In situations when time works against you and your laundry, features of a well-designed washing machine can come to rescue. There are programmes for urgent laundry needs that provide clean laundry in a super quick 15 to 30 minutes’ cycle; a time delay feature that can assist you to start the laundry at a desired time etc. Many of these features dispel the notion that longer wash cycles mean cleaner clothes. In fact, some washing machines come with pre-activated wash cycles that offer shortest wash cycles across all programmes without compromising on cleanliness.

The green quotient

Despite the conveniences washing machines offer, many of them also consume a substantial amount of electricity and water. By paying close attention to performance features, it’s possible to find washing machines that use less water and energy. For example, there are machines which can adjust the levels of water used based on the size of the load. The reduced water usage, in turn, helps reduce the usage of electricity. Further, machines that promise a silent, no-vibration wash don’t just reduce noise – they are also more efficient as they are designed to work with less friction, thus reducing the energy consumed.

Customisable washing modes

Crushed dresses, out-of-shape shirts and shrunken sweaters are stuff of laundry nightmares. Most of us would rather take out the time to hand wash our expensive items of clothing rather than trusting the washing machine. To get the dirt out of clothes, washing machines use speed to first agitate the clothes and spin the water out of them, a process that takes a toll on the fabric. Fortunately, advanced machines come equipped with washing modes that control speed and water temperature depending on the fabric. While jeans and towels can endure a high-speed tumble and spin action, delicate fabrics like silk need a gentler wash at low speeds. Some machines also have a monsoon mode. This is an India specific mode that gives clothes a hot rinse and spin to reduce drying time during monsoons. A super clean mode will use hot water to clean the clothes deeply.

Washing machines have come a long way, from a wooden drum powered by motor to high-tech machines that come equipped with automatic washing modes. Bosch washing machines include all the above-mentioned features and provide damage free laundry in an energy efficient way. With 32 different washing modes, Bosch washing machines can create custom wash cycles for different types of laundry, be it lightly soiled linens, or stained woollens. The ActiveWater feature in Bosch washing machines senses the laundry load and optimises the usage of water and electricity. Its EcoSilentDrive motor draws energy from a permanent magnet, thereby saving energy and giving a silent wash. The fear of expensive clothes being wringed to shapelessness in a washing machine is a common one. The video below explains how Bosch’s unique VarioDrumTM technology achieves damage free laundry.


To start your search for the perfect washing machine, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Bosch and not by the Scroll editorial team.