Directed by: Robert Zemeckis – Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Simon McBurney, Lizzy Caplan
Back in the day, during the “Golden Age of Hollywood”, a star could have been in the midst of numerous affairs, and divorcing their 16th spouse, and the cinema-going public were unlikely to hear about it, never mind have it filter into the glossy movie promotions so carefully stage-managed by the studios.
Fast forward to today, however, and a star’s personal life has become public fodder, as Brad Pitt is surely only too aware. While his private life has been hitting the headlines for decades, the recent announcement of his impending divorce from Angelina Jolie has completely overshadowed the release of this film. Which is a real shame, as Allied is a fine piece of cinema.
Pitt plays Max Vattan, a Canadian intelligence officer, who is paired with the alluring and mysterious French Resistance Fighter, Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard) on a secret mission in Casablanca. The pair fall in love, and Max puts in a request that she be allowed join him in London, where he is stationed.
They have a child, and live an idyllic life (or as idyllic as is possible in wartime) until Max is summoned by his superiors, who inform him that they believe she is a spy. Setting a test for her, they inform him that he must execute her if they are proved right, leaving Max just 72 hours to try and clear his beloved’s name.
Allied opens with stunning sweeping shots of the dessert, and, some 45 odd minutes in, as Pitt and Cotillard brandish machine guns and let rip, it seems to be setting itself up to be a wartime action picture.
However, the glamour and splendour of this only serves to juxtapose with the ordinariness of London, and their lives there. After the initial scenes, there is very little in the way of action, and Allied is all about the characters’ relationships. Pitt and Cotillard give great performances, make a supremely attractive couple, and have a great chemistry (although for those still speculating they had an affair it’s called ACTING!). The supporting characters are merely here to flesh out their story. Allied is very much their film.
The performances are offset with some amazing cinematography, stunning sound design, thoughtful direction, and a solid script that twists and turns, and keeps you guessing until the end. If there was one flaw, it is simply that Cotillard looks impossibly glamorous throughout, given that it’s wartime, and rationing was in force. You can overlook this though, as it only adds to her enigma as the plot develops.
A solid thriller, with plenty of tension that will have you on the edge of your seat, Allied is definitely award-worthy. It would be a pity if people let the Brangelina furore colour their perception of this, as it is definitely one of the best movies released this year.
In Cinemas Now! See Trailer Below: