Starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, Allied is a romantic drama set during World War II. The story of Allied follows the characters of Max Vatan (Pitt) and Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard). They are two operatives behind enemy lines and are tasked with bringing down the Nazi’s stationed there. To pull off this daring do they have to pretend to be married and prove to all around them that they are in love after all this is WWII and trust is hard to come by.
As the deadline closes in to take out the Nazi’s Max and Marianne, begin to form a relationship based on their mutual respect for each other. This culminates in Max asking Marianne to come to Britain with him as his wife immediately after they annihilate the Nazi’s. Once they are set up in Britain they are content and start a small family; a year passes, and everything seems that little bit brighter even during wartime. Unfortunately, Max is called in by his superior Frank (Jared Harris) who has startling news Marianne is a German spy.
Robert Zemeckis is known for the outstanding personalities that fill his films, from Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Forest Gump in Forest Gump Zemeckis’ films have had memorable characters with relatable motivations in well fleshed out world’s. Unfortunately, the last decade has not been kind to Zemeckis. Since 2004 many of his films have not lived up to the quality of his early work and Allied continues this descent.
The first major issue is the chemistry between the leads, Pitt and Cotillard as a romantic duo are unconvincing. Their love is unextraordinary and uninspired. This situation is further exacerbated by the undistinguished performance from Pitt who is average in the role of Canadian spy Max Vatan. Thankfully Cotillard brings charm and wit to her performance, and it helps elevate Pitt at times.
Performance issues aren’t the only matter of contention in Allied, however. The story structure is dire; each scene plays out unsurprisingly. For example in one scene, Max is looking for Guy (Matthew Goode), a man who can tell him if his wife is truly a German spy. All he has to do is get the man a picture of Marianne, once he reaches him the most hackneyed of obstacles stops Max’s investigation. Guy has become blind and can’t identify her. I saw this a mile away and could not believe that Zemeckis stuck this in the film.
If there are any positives to take from Allied, it would be the stunning backdrops. 1940’s Europe is sumptuous, from the lavish deserts of Morocco to the prim streets of London. Zemeckis has built an authentic world, and though the film is overall unnoteworthy there are one or two scenes that are impressively dramatic. One scene, in particular, goes from nought to ten in seconds. If only the rest of Allied was like this, instead we have a languid romance with an unimaginative story surrounding it.