Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Lizzie Caplan, Simon McBurney, Matthew Goode.
Written by Steven Knight
Running Time: 124 mins
Release date: 25th November 2016
What more could film lovers want? A new Robert Zemeckis film with two screen presences who are both thrilling to watch, in a romantic thriller about trust. Plus, it’s the film that may or may not be linked to the end of a celebrated Hollywood coupling. On the evidence of watching Allied, I really can’t see it myself because could be put down as the year’s most disappointing movie, in every way and shape.
Max Vatan is a Canadian airman who is sent by British Intelligence to go undercover in Casablanca to assassinate a top German officer. There he meets with Marianne Beauséjour, a former French Resistance member who is being used as cover, pretending to be his wife. They play the game extremely well, convincing everyone that they are a couple. Once the job is done, Max returns to England but wants Marianne to join him as his real wife. Life couldn’t be so perfect until British Intelligence hit Max with news that could destroy his love.
This is an old-fashioned wartime romance that used to be a staple diet during WWII. A little bit of intrigue. A touch of mystery and plenty of doo-ey eyed schmaltz. At the start, we get all that as the film beginning promisingly. The meeting of Max and Marianne is well executed and you can slowly see this couple who are working together for a common cause falling in love before your very eyes.
Yet as soon as the mission is over and Max comes to England, the film starts to freefall into mawkishness and unsympathetic melodrama. Zemeckis, who brings a neat cinematic feel to the film half hour, seems to go into autopilot and allows the film to coast. It doesn’t come as any surprise about the revelation of what British Intelligence are suspecting and it becomes even more tiresome when we follow Max’s antics to prove them wrong. It all feels very Channel 5 in the afternoon.
Zemeckis is a fine director. He has proven that time and time again with Back To The Future and Forrest Gump. He knows how to put a film together and how to keep the audiences attention while showing a flair of being interesting visually. Here all of that is missing. What we get is very bland and incredibly flat.
What also doesn’t help is the romance between Max and Marianne. There is almost zero chemistry between them and in some points, it’s like they’ve never even met. Brad Pitt, as Max, seems to be coasting with this bored expression throughout. He delivers his lines with a dull monotony as if he really doesn’t want to be there. Thankfully, Marion Cotillard does and she gives the film the heart that it really needs. You could listen to her reading the phone book and it would be filled with Parisian passion. It’s a well-pitched performance. Yet it feels so completely out of place.
Allied could have been a modern day masterpiece. Instead, it comes across as a damp squib of a film that lumbers along until it hits a totally unremarkable finale. Not the kind of thing you’d expect from three top drawer artists in the film industry.