AlliedNovember. 17,2016 R
Prime Video Movies
In 1942, an intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.
Poor Brad Pitt! Like his heartthrob predecessor before him, Paul Newman, he bitterly resents the eye candy appellation bestowed upon him by millions of star-struck women worldwide. As a reaction formation, he has consistently been determined to prove that he's a legitimate actor and seeks out roles that suggest at his deepest core, that he has "heart." Here he's playing Canadian RAF wingman turned spy, Max Vatan, parachuting into 1942 French Morocco (specifically Casablanca) under the auspices of British intelligence. The mission is to hook up with the French Resistance agent, Marianne Beauséjour (famed French actress Marion Cotillard) and assassinate the German ambassador. Veteran famed director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump) along with screenwriter Steven Knight have fashioned an homage to the grand old War War II espionage thrillers of yesteryear, specifically the Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman classic, Casablanca, as well as perhaps Hitchcock's Notorious, featuring Cary Grant teamed up with the ubiquitous Bergman. Notably, the city of Casablanca receives Zemeckis' rather squeaky clean, art deco makeover that will impress those who yearn for some heady nostalgia. Unfortunately, the first half of Allied proves not only lugubrious but rather unconvincing plot-wise. There's the whole problem of Max's non-Parisian accent which Marianne is convinced she can help improve in a week's time-enough to fool a coterie of unsuspecting Germans they are required to deceive. Not buying it! Worse is the mission itself. What good can come from knocking off the German Ambassador? Can't the Germans simply replace him? And killing Germans seems to be a rather easy feat in Vichy controlled Casablanca. Before the big assassination scene, Max chokes a German officer to death in a bathroom believing that he's encountered him before (fearing his cover might be blown). No manhunt ensues and presumably, none of the witnesses came forward to place Max and Marianne at the scene. We later find out in the second half that the German Ambassador was some sort of "dissident" and the assassination was ordered by Hitler himself, with Max as a dupe and (SUPER SPOILERS AHEAD) Marianne acting as a double agent for the Germans. If you believe it you also have to believe that Hitler was willing to sacrifice dozens of German soldiers to keep up the pretense, after Max and Marianne rather conveniently mow them all down with machine guns they surreptitiously (and again rather easily) brought to the Ambassador's residence. The "meat" of the story is only introduced in the second half of the film when Max is informed by the super-secret V-section of British intelligence that they believe Marianne is a double agent. They devise a test where Max receives classified information and writes it down on a notepad after receiving a call from them in the middle of the night. If the info pops up from intercepted German communications in the next few days, that's proof that Marianne is a spy who culled it from Max's notepad. The ugly revelation propels Max to find a way to disprove the more than dispiriting allegations. By now it's established that Max and Marianne are truly in love, having produced a child within a year's time after they've returned to London. Many critics have decried a lack of chemistry between the principals and it's probably because Max is too taciturn of a character to believe he's fallen completely head over heels for the far more emotional Marianne. Screenwriter Knight attempts to establish the existence of a strong bond between the two through an early lovemaking scene in a sandstorm prior to the couple's return to London, where perhaps anxiety over constant Nazi buzz bomb attacks is enough to suggest a deep love connection. Knight is much more successful in the denouement when he finally affords Pitt the opportunity to become much more animated and emotive. Max, against orders, flies to France to question Delamare, a former spy now imprisoned in a Vichy jail, who is the only one who can disprove that Marianne is working for the Germans. He notes he saw her play La Marseilles on the piano a few years before so, in the film's second most dramatic scene, Max brings her to a pub and insists that she play the song on a piano there. Of course, she's unable to do so, proving indeed she's been a double agent all along. Max, still in love with her, wants to escape to Switzerland and drives to the air base with her and baby in tow. Marianne insists that she's been in love with Max since Casablanca and basically argues that her handlers forced her (by threatening to harm her child) to continue with her spy activities. The climax is actually kind of touching with Marianne committing suicide and Max's friend Colonel Frank Heslop (Jared Harris) preventing Max from being court-martialed after he failed to follow orders to kill Marianne had he learned she was a spy. It's a little too late, but Pitt shows his "heart" as much later he becomes the father who raised a daughter, who never knew her mother (Cotillard gets to read a dramatic, emotional letter she writes to the daughter a day before she kills herself). Allied is reasonably entertaining despite the lugubrious pacing and not so believable plot machinations early on. See it for Cotillard's intense performance. As for Pitt, give him a "B" for effort, despite being saddled with such a taciturn role.
I'm one of those people that love these types of films, where the ending ain't really all that happy. Something about them just rings true to me. In my opinion, a good film is this: Some people should love it, and some people should hate it. That's right where a good film should be.Moving on, I love the spy thrillers, so that's what roped me in on this one. Marion Cotillard does a fabulous job. I can't find anywhere to knock on her performance. This wasn't Pitt's BEST performance...but it sure as hell wasnt bad either. The reason I've rated this film as an 8 is mainly due to poor editing. There's numerous times where the continuity of action was very poor, and some very rough cuts when it came to sound.All in all, I enjoyed this film very much, and recommend it to anyone with an open mind.
Max Vatan falls in love with Marianne Beausejour on an assassination mission behind enemy line during World War II and invites her back to London where they marry and have a child. But a secretive security officer tells Max that they suspect Marianne is a spy. They will feed her false information via Max and, if this proves her guilt, then Max will have to execute her, or face being hanged himself. That much you will know from the trailer, and the issue of whether Marianne is guilty or not, and what Max gets up to in pursuit of the truth, are not matters which I propose to spoiler in this review.What I will say is that as soon as security man Simon McBurney (who really does do slimey and obnoxious better than almost anyone else) tells Max about their suspicions and what the protocol was for dealing with them, the film lost me.A huge question exploded in my head. It was "Why are you telling him?" The protocol could be applied just as effectively without Max ever knowing until Marianne's guilt was proved, so why would you tell him before he needs to know, and run the risk of him going off the rails and following his own course of action? Which, of course, is exactly what he does. A midnight trip to a police station in occupied France in order to interview a drunk, followed by breaking into a pub for a bit of patriotic piano-playing? Whoa, Nellie.I understand that the threat of having to execute your own wife is a terrific engine with which to drive a story, but the major flaw in its execution stalled it for me - a flaw which could have been easily solved with better writing, by the way.The film looks very authentic, and there are some good action sequences and pleasing and touching performances (and Pitt gets to do his Paltrow's head performance again), But it should have tried harder to stay on the rails, in my view.
I normally don't watch brad pitt films because he is so smarmy and oily in his demeanor but i wanted to see a film with marion cotillard in a starring role for some time...in my humble opinion she carried the film with a beautiful performance that far out weighed my dislike of brad pitt...for the most part the props and clothes were on the mark for the period indicating the director actually knew what he was doing...i would have rated this a solid ten sans pitt