Robert Zemeckis' "Allied": Movie Review

By Tanmay Shukla

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews
Allied, Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Marion Cotillard, Brad Pitt
Allied By Robert Zemeckis
Is it a special trait of wars which never fails to accommodate love somewhere amid the politics and enmity or is it the intrinsic nature of love which manifests even in the most inconceivable of times? One can sense a bit of the old Hollywood classic Casablanca in Allied which goes beyond the mere trivial similarity but ultimately falls short in emulating the former’s cinematic excellence.

Allied, set during the World War II, revolves around Max Vatan, an intelligence officer and Marianne Beausejour, a French resistance fighter, who are posing as a couple as part of a subterfuge to accomplish the task of assassinating the German Ambassador. They fall in love as they both come to realize that they might not survive the mission. Against all odds they successfully complete and survive the impossible mission. Max asks Marianne to be her wife and move to Hampstead with him. They get married and settle in England and have a child who they name Anna. After a year, the story evolves into a different channel as Marianne is suspected of being a German Spy and Max is adamant to prove otherwise.

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in Allied, party, dance, ball
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in Allied
Brad Pitt as Max gives a restrained, stoic performance but such subdued roles usually fail to leave an impression, especially when they are matched up with somewhat flat characters. Yet he is convincing as a just another Air Force Officer and besides he doesn't need any intense drama because he is friggin’ Brad Pitt. Marion Cotillard is the highlight of this movie. She is seductive when she talks, she is elegant when she walks, and she fights expertly and dresses voguishly. She illuminates the screen with her unbridled charm. Every frame with her in it elevates the otherwise low-key movie to one with action and purpose.

The backdrop is very interesting and is not limited in its scope; all the actors play their part well and it is hard to point out anything wrong on that front. Visually too, it’s both magnifique, as Max would say it, and very realistic. The tone is subtle and not attention-seeking through which the casual mundane streets breathe to life.

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard sharing a passionate moment in Allied, kiss, back of the car
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard share a passionate moment in Allied

Casablanca city is pictured with both its scorching desert as well as the soothing cool starry night sky over the terrace. The meticulous details establish the setting which creates the mood and atmosphere of the period with perfection and precision. The costumes are beautiful which add much needed glamour and spark, particularly those wore by Marianne and the scene where she turns up all dressed up and ready for the party in the chic outfit will be hard to forget. The whole production is artistically crafted and it all harmoniously adds up to a brilliant big budget Hollywood production. I feel that the score was a little weak and with the help of some catchy music the romance between the lead cast could succeeded in complimented the visuals in a better manner.

There is little emotional investment between Max and Marianne to speak of. They hardly share any intimacy with each other. This may well have been a deliberate decision to further ground the film with reality but there is nothing to compensate for the lack thereof, which is felt more in a film which was oozing with beauty and glorious cast. As a result, one is not yet ready to share their sorrows when they haven’t really shared their ‘moments’. The tone and tempo are also even throughout the runtime which explains the missing ‘edge’ and surprise factor.
A Still from Robert Zemeckis' Allied, family, Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard
A Still from Robert Zemeckis' Allied

Due to an underwhelming treatment, an interesting story which had the scope to become an instant classic has been reduced to a bland film which never seem to take off primarily because of the hurried love-affair. Allied is at its heart a dramatic love story wrapped in the tension torn of the World War II which rapidly shifts between an espionage thriller at the beginning to a love story for some time and then to a mystery about halfway which is told through jittery transition with limited character interaction. Therefore, the viewer hardly ever feels the emotions onscreen people are going through.

Yet, it keeps one’s attention throughout its runtime and credit goes to its superb acting, Marion Cotillard in particular, visual brilliance and technical perfection. The director Robert Zemeckis has made a fine film which lacks the treatment to exploit the scope of its story and in the end fails to reach the level it was capable of. Although Steven Knight is a talented writer, he has gone off the track in Allied. However, despite its shortcomings, it makes for a nice one-time watch and people who are regular Hollywood watchers and those who like visual treats or period films should still try not to miss this one.

Rating: 6/10

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Allied Trailer (YouTube)

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

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