The Key Movie That Inspired Atomic Blonde’s Most Badass Action Sequence

Atomic Blonde Charlize Theron

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains minor spoilers for Atomic Blonde. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to have any details at all revealed before your screening, please bookmark this page and save it until after you've gone to the movies!

Director David Leitch's Atomic Blonde pulls off something rather extraordinary about three-quarters of the way through the movie. While there are stunning action scenes throughout the entire flick, there is nothing greater than the extended sequence where the audience follows Charlize Theron on an ass-kicking adventure through not only through multiple floors of a building, but also into a moving car, all in what appears to be just one single shot. It's an incredible achievement the likes of which we've never seen... but the director did have some key inspiration -- namely Alfonso Cuaron's brilliant Children of Men. Discussing the specific sequence, Leitch recently told me,

There are influences. I think I was always intrigued by the Children of Men one-shots, you know? But what happens in the Children of Men shots are that the action goes on around the main character, and I was like, 'Wow, if we could just do the opposite where it's happening with them,' and it's really interactive. This is really the first step in that. It's really just physical fighting, but we're taking it a very long time, and it sort of escalates into the car, gets more complicated technically, and then visually it's sort of escalating. But yeah, I think that Children of Men was an inspiration, but also just wanting to do something that was provocative and hadn't been done.

I had the pleasure of talking with David Leitch about Atomic Blonde last week when we sat down for an interview at San Diego Comic-Con, and I definitely couldn't go the entire conversation without discussing the new movie's most incredible scene. Curious about how the one-shot sequence first came about, Leitch noted that the cinematography in 2006's Children of Men was an incredibly important touchstone, in that it both served as initial inspiration as well as encouragement to push things even further.

Watching Atomic Blonde, you can definitely see the influence of the Alfonso Cuaron movie, and how David Leitch took the challenge of the one-shot sequence to the next level. The most famous scene in Children of Men is a four minute-take entirely set in a car while the heroes are being attacked, and Atomic Blonde essentially pulls that off at the tail end of a much longer and more insane series of events. It's a remarkable sight to behold, and one that action fans will likely be talking about for a very, very long time.

For more about Atomic Blonde, be sure to click play on the video below, where you can watch my entire conversation with David Leitch at San Diego Comic-Con!

Atomic Blonde is now in theaters nationwide -- so go check it out, and hit the comments section below with your thoughts on what is unquestionably its standout action sequence!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.