Film Review – Allied (2016)

imageTitle: Allied (2016)

Director: Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future)

Cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan, Matthew Goode

Plot: In the heat of World War 2 undercover operatives Max Vatan (Pitt) and Marianne Beauséjour (Cotillard) find themselves falling in love after enacting out a dangerous mission against the Nazi regime. Married and living a seemingly idyllic life in London, Max’s love for his wife will be tested when his made aware that there is a possibility she may not be who she says she is.

“Being good at this kind of work is not very beautiful”

Review by Eddie on 25/01/2017

Despite it’s fine production values, A-list leads that do the best with what their given and a thrilling World War 2 set-up (on face value), Allied is an unfortunately dull, mature blockbuster that continues the recent Robert Zemeckis form slump that is showing no signs of ending anytime soon. 

A rightfully respected director who found fame by entertaining (Back to the Future), encapsulating hearts (Forest Gump) and drawing out terrific acting turns (Cast Away), the 2000’s have seen Zemeckis lose his way with misguided CGI events like The Polar Express and lifeless spectacles such as The Walk, and while 2012’s Flight had it’s moments, many including myself had hoped Allied with it’s potent setting and powerful leads was the film to once more bring out the best from the talented director.

All lead up elements towards Allied’s impending release seemed to suggest the World War 2 thriller, that pays homage to Hollywood productions of old (Casablanca often springs to mind) was set to be both an Oscar darling and an audience appealing event but working only mildly at the best of times as a spy thriller molded with a love story, Allied threatens more than once to become the film it could’ve been, whilst sadly ending up as the film it is.

Failing to connect us emotionally to the story of Brad Pitt’s Canadian spy Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard’s European spy Marianne Beauséjour as they team up to take down evil Nazi’s whilst low and behold falling head over heals in love, Zemeckis may find moments within his film that thrill but their mostly brief glimpses of set pieces that could’ve and really should’ve provided a lot more bang for buck.

Scenes in Allied such as a bombing raid birth, a daring village mission or a sandstorm lovers sojourn all seem designed purely to enliven previously boorish lead-in scenes made worse by screenwriter Steven Knights’ often cringe-worthy dialogue or heavily CGI’d production values, and even though Allied’s leads share moments together where they light up the screen, this much documented pairing of Pitt and Cotillard won’t exactly be setting the world on fire, with some of their moments as star crossed lovers feeling rather forced when it needed to be so much more.

It’s hard to know absolutely whether other actors placed in these roles could’ve elevated Allied’s chances of success, but if this pairing can’t make it work, clearly Allied has suffered from other damaging factors.

There’s a terrific film somewhere within Allied; a film we only sometimes catch. It should’ve been a thriller that moves us with its romance and races our hearts as the stakes are raised, but this pretty, yet emotionally cold production is forgettable and marks another so-so film from a director who knows how to do better but can’t seem to find a heart and soul within his current crop of productions to do so.

2 and a half pieces of bread out of 5

9 responses to “Film Review – Allied (2016)

  1. On the plus side of the ledger, the costumes are absolutely stunning. And the settings are just gorgeous, Maybe it’s all just meant to be eye candy, with a tiny message? I enjoyed reading your review.

    • Yeh agreed on those points. There were some great elements to the film but it just failed to live up to what it could’ve been, especially with the emotional investment side of things.

  2. I love the idea that Marion – in a London free of central heating – can just waft around in the same robe she wore in Morocco. And that’s at a time when my mom needed thermals, plus a coat.

  3. The first act in Casablanca was interesting and could’ve been the entire film. The rest of the film was just okay. Pitt and Cotillard were pretty blah in the movie. Anyway, good review.

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