An effective, simple spy movie set in the height of World War 2.
Max Vatan, a Canadian pilot-turn-spy, is deep in Nazi occupied France and is working with Marianne, a fellow spy who he ends up returning to London with and marrying. But when British spy masters discover Marianne isn’t all she appears to be… their relationship is tested.
I’ve had a falling out with director Robert Zemeckis: Polar Express, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol, Flight and I’ve not even watched The Walk! But amazingly, Allied is a surprisingly pensive, emotionally taut and compelling story all the way through!
On a side note, can someone please make a good Beowulf movie?
Our good-looking leads, Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, are very capable in their performances, especially Cotillard. Pitt’s character Max is written as a very passive man, which sometimes makes the actor look like he’s sleeping through some scenes, but during intense emotional scenes and the scarce action scenes, Pitt brings it. Cotillard brings exactly the layered performance you need for the role, she fits perfectly.
Zemeckis has remembered what its like to have not only real production value but also period-accurate set and costume design; seeing even one Lancaster bomber taxiing on a airport stretch made me more excited than it should have. I got a good sense of where I was and the time period I was seeing. The supporting cast and even the extras were great at convincing performances.
I won’t go into spoilers, obviously, but if there was one grievance I had with Allied was that there wasn’t enough of Max and Marianne happily together. We are told that a year elapses and it isn’t designed to be anything more, but we don’t see any of it; we go from war torn France to “your wife is a spy” with little more than a birth in-between! Sure, all the notable moments of ‘Hollywood romance’ are there, but I never felt like these people were truly together or truly deceiving one another. Which does seem like a big disservice to the theme. Gone Girl this ain’t.
All in all though, I was pleasantly surprised by the film. I enjoyed it and it does have a great emotional weight designed into it (despite what I think are flaws) that did catch me out.
It is more of a romantic drama than an war movie; WW2 is a backdrop, the film isn’t rife with “America won the war” nonsense, this is a very focused story about two people. So if you enjoy tense romantic dramas with a good edge of action, Allied is a film for you!