Run Time:125 mins
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Robert Zemeckis’ Second World War-era spy drama Allied is a gorgeous mood piece that drips with as much drama, as it does action. Not without a little bit of help from its commanding lead pair, Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, Allied transports you to the world of war espionage and Golden Age cinema with its lush imagery and poetic ambience.
Max Vatan (Pitt) is an American working for British Intelligence during the Second World War. The scene introducing us to Vatan has him quietly parachuting down, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, in the North African desert. As he ambles along the dunes, a driver promptly picks him up, gives him his temporary identity, and takes him straight to Casablanca.
There’s something inherently soothing about this scene, a quiet acceptance of things to come, but you know it’s just the calm before the storm. And that storm is Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), a French Resistance fighter who, like Vatan, is a spy.
Their mission is to assassinate a local Nazi official, as they pose to be loving husband and wife. While the scenes leading up to the assassination are thrilling enough, it’s the actual romance between the handsome lead pair that’s really captivating. The chemistry sizzles right under the skin of the screen, so palpable from the moment they first meet. They eventually marry, get pregnant with their first daughter and everything’s just fine and dandy (except the war, of course), until Vatan is delivered the jolt of his life. The rest of the film runs a predictable track, but the love story keeps you glued.
Special mention goes to costume designer Joanna Johnston who makes Pitt and Cotillard dazzle and shine. Cotillard glides in a variety of vintage gowns, and Pitt looks stellar in his fedoras and three-piece suits. Nothing adds to the ’40s vintage look like a well-dressed classic pair.
It’s not a new story by any means, but the telling is fresh. Zemeckis did well in taking a lot of CGI help. And Pitt’s French is, at once, endearing and calming. Cotillard’s the tragic beauty who is the life of every party, but is herself, quite broken.
The movie, however, fails to completely soar. The tension fizzles at numerous occasions and the editing could have used a few more snips because no one wants to sit through a more than two-hour long romance-drama anymore.
Watch Allied for the birth of a charismatic new leading pair. Everything else, you’ve already seen.