Allied had me hooked from the trailer because it was set up as a big investigative thriller, and because the trailer was presented with this as the films seeming focal point, I assumed that the whole is she or isn’t she storyline would be played out throughout the film. So, imagine my initial confusion and gentle surprise when I figure out that Allied is a two-act film. There are two separate stories to be told about Max and Marianne (Brad Pitt and Marion Coutillard).
Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with two act films bit I think that these types of films only work if the audience knows in advance that films says in advanced through its promotion that it will be doing this. I did like the way that whenever the title showed, the lie bit in allied always appeared before the whole word, which was a little thing I found very credible, it shows that Robert Zemeckis is prepared to not only plant an idea in his characters but also his audience.
Speaking of characters Brad Pitt and Marion Coutillard give us a great performance as Max and Marianne, making their romance even more believable. Furthermore, you are on board with the struggles of Max to discover if Marianne is indeed a spy or not. You’ll end up wanting to prove her innocence as much as Max does because of how Marianne is set up as the perfect woman and what every husband from the world war two period would want their wife to be, a kind, good looking woman who can take care of their children which is the glue that hold these two characters together during the struggles.
The actual investigation story doesn’t happen until the second act of the film, the first act however is all about setting up the relationship between these two characters to the point where they eventually fall in love but are also on a mission to kill Nazi’s, and of course it had to be in Casablanca. In fact, there is a lot of homage to Michael Curtiz’s 1942 film, for example the costume Brad Pitt wears is like Humphrey Bogart’s and even the time and place is 1942. Despite the obvious homage to Casablanca, the locations were very well picked in both acts of the film. It gave the film a pinch of showmanship and pizzazz to match the romantic nature of the film.
The film takes it’s time to establish the change in Max and Marianne, by having them start off pretending to be lovers, they grow more accustom towards each other by dominating the screen time together rather than separately. Allied is a very romantic movie with well executed sex scenes from a visual standpoint, and it works well because Marianne has a very seductive personality both as Max’s lover and as ways of testing him of his loyalty to the mission when she is pretending to be Max’s lover. The scene where they have sex for the first time is in their car in the middle of a sandstorm which was quite possible the best crafted scene in the film due to the cinematography and the sound of the sandstorm increasing as the scene continued.
Once the characters are married, have a daughter and the whole spy scenario is set up, I’m afraid it is here where the film starts to lose it current pacing and opts to show an overly long narrative that rushes through the important plot points while instead draw drama from scenes that serve no or minuscule advancement to the investigation. Each scene seems to only be set up to reveal the tiniest clue to whether Marianne is a German spy, I felt that some scenes could have been cut out by the editor or at least trimmed the less relevant pieces of information.
Once the truth is revealed, Max undergoes a big change to his character, but only when the truth is revealed. Up until this point Brad Pitt has always been dressed in smart uniform with smart hair reflecting the high point of his character’s life and relationship with Marianne. During his own personal investigation into his wife however, his clothing and look starts to decline to the point where he is on the verge of becoming a broken man. Marianne remains quite oblivious, blinded by her devotion to Max and Anne their daughter which is quick to catch the audience support in her favour, more so than Max.
Robert Zemeckis seemed to have a brief period with his earlier film Flight in which he received where it seemed that we would have seen the same Robert Zemeckis who directed legendary films like Back to the Future and Forrest Gump. I believe now that that Robert Zemeckis has gone and passed, what is left is a director clinging to legacy but has a capacity to etch a third legendary story in his directing career, If he thought that he could do it with Allied, unfortunately it was not to be.
Final Result: 5/10 – Average
Have you seen Allied? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Bleed for This