Good chemistry does just enough to make this typical Hollywood war romance watchable.
In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer (Brad Pitt) in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard) on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.
Was this really penned by the man who gave us Peaky Blinders?
BUT at that same stroke, he gave us Locke and Mockingbird . . . So . . . yeah.
The opening act was slow burning BUT engaging as Pitt’s (incredibly bad CGI’d) Vatan descended onto the French Moroccan desert.
The tension slowly bubbling as the officer set out on his mission. The secret rendezvous. The cloak and dagger meetings. The questions piling up.
Cotillard stole the show from the get go. I expected nothing less as she did her best to hide Pitt’s school boy French. BUT it allowed for a nice icebreaker between the pair as they gathered Intel and rehearsed each other’s cover stories.
The detail was ridiculous from Vatan’s threads to perfecting his “Parisian” twang. He even had to sleep on the roof to establish the couple’s “reunion” as the neighbours watched from the windows.
The pace dragged BUT the pair’s blossoming partnership and chemistry made up for it as we played the waiting game. Cotillard’s Marianne proving she is more than just a piece of arm candy and up for the task in hand to the stern and dreadfully serious Vatan.
Don Burgess’ cinematography certainly left little on the eye. Casablanca didn’t look quite as romantic as the 1940s classic, that’s for sure. BUT that didn’t stop director Robert Zemeckis and co. piling on the cheese.
A little too Hollywood for my liking. No, really. I had to laugh at their whirlwind romance. Captured perfectly in a hilarious sandstorm bonk. Peer-leasseee.
Zemeckis’ track record has been hit and miss for the last 15 years BUT he knew how to deliver the suspense as the pair took on their risky mission. It was edgy, brutal and surprisingly violent.
BUT when the pair went back to London, the pace was tragically put on the back burner as they got hitched and had a child.
I had to cringe at Cotillard giving birth in the middle of an air raid. I’m sure it was meant to be a sweeping statement that war stops for no one BUT it was far too hammy.
Luckily it wasn’t long before the game was afoot again with a suspect Nazi agent in the ranks. The only problem was that the agent in question was Marianne.
Simon McBurney (The Conjuring 2) was quite creepy as the appropriately titled ‘Ratcatcher’. I wish he was in this more. Jared Harris’ (Mad Men) Frank Helsop, on the other hand, was a little tally ho and what for not. Shame.
The two men assigned to putting Vatan’s life in misery. My interest was finally peaked as Vatan sought to prove Marianne’s innocence; with failure to do so resulting in their execution. Grim stuff.
The final act delivered more of what I had expected from the get go. It was tense and, despite my grumbling, I was still guessing right up to the very end as Vatan had to re-evaluate the very woman he fell in love with.
I just wish Zemeckis had given us more suspense. I hadn’t been so anxious waiting for a phone to ring (Those who have seen it, will know what I’m talking about).
The lines weren’t quite as crisp or as memorable as I’d hoped and made some of the more dramatic scenes a little clunky. Oh . . . and Brad Pitt’s angry chair kick had me in stitches.
The supporting cast left little to be desired. Anyone could have played Lizzy Caplan’s (Now You See Me 2) part as Vatan’s sister. If at all. She was completely unnecessary and her silly romance with Charlotte Hope (Game of Thrones) felt tacked on and in the wrong film altogether.
I was more interested in Matthew Goode’s (The Imitation Game) disfigured war vet. He made more of an impression in five minutes than all of Caplan’s encounters combined.
I actually wanted to know more about his past with Vatan and the reasons behind his neglected hospital imprisonment. BUT alas, it was not to be.
Allied wasn’t as bad as I had originally anticipated. The two leads’ chemistry kept things watchable. It just felt like we had seen it all before and done much better.
Moments of quick violence and gore with patchy suspense sequences just didn’t quite cut it.
A watchable, if dreadfully muddled, affair.
So-so, all sport.