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Film Review: Allied
And They Lived Happily Ever After...Right?
Lies. Deception. Love. Betrayal.
Love and betrayal go together like a ham and cheese croissant from Au Bon Pain. How fitting, since the first act of the subject in this edition’s movie review begins in French Morocco. Critically acclaimed director Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”) brings us his latest endeavor with his action-packed World War II suspense thriller, “Allied,” starring Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, Brad Pitt, and Jared Harris.
“Allied” weaves a familiar tale of love and betrayal. The story starts in 1942 in Casablanca, where the Nazis have all but taken over Europe. Sent undercover to eliminate a German politician, Canadian soldier-spy Max Vatan (played by Brad Pitt) and French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (played by Marion Cotillard) operate under the pretense of marriage, and inadvertently fall in love in a time when the world had very little of it. Following the war's end, Beausejour accompanied Vatan to London, where they get married, and later have a daughter together named Ana. The honeymoon phase, however, is abruptly cut short when Vatan’s superiors reveal to him that Beausejour may be a German spy. It is from that point on that love and happiness fades and transforms into a messy and paranoid game of cat-and-mouse.
Pitt as Vatan is everything you expect a decorated WWII soldier-spy to be: tall, blonde, and handy in a fight, not to mention a great jawline. However, in comparison to his female lead, Pitt was easily overmatched, outmaneuvered, and outworked in every sense of the words. It is likely, though, that Pitt’s near-forgettable performance in “Allied” could have less to do with his level of commitment to the role and more to do with his recent personal troubles in the media with his impending divorce to longtime wife Angelina Jolie.
On the other hand, he could just be simply running low on quality acting, like an office printer running low on ink. After all, Pitt is a former Oscar and Golden Globe nominee for his previous work in the psychological thriller “12 Monkeys,” and drama film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Regardless, Cotillard stands out as the saving grace of this film, as she never took a single misstep in this performance. Whether she was flirtatiously teaching Pitt how to be French, fearlessly gunning down Nazis, being a loving mother and wife, or simply lying through her teeth; it didn’t matter what she did, because she nailed it.
Zemeckis does well not to keep us in suspense for too long, and when the big reveal is made, it felt both well-paced and decently thought out. Dialogue, for the most part, was up to par throughout the film. Unfortunately, Pitt’s wooden delivery and prolonged pauses between lines occurred enough to cause any moviegoer to wonder whether he blatantly forgot his lines or was giving us the “silent treatment.”
No film is without its shortcomings, and “Allied,” despite its great visuals and Cotillard's fine acting, turned out to be no different in that regard. Nevertheless, the film grants us yet another, but equally respectable, glimpse at a time when the condition of rampant fear, violence, mistrust, and paranoia were at the absolute pinnacle of the human experience.