Film review: ALLIED, from ‘Built For Speed’

Allied is a slow-moving but effective World War 2 spy drama.  The film stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotilliard in a relationship that inevitably draws comparisons with Mr and Mrs Smith.  Pitt plays Canadian Air Force group captain Max Vatan (Pitt) who teams up with French resistance operative Maryanne (Marion Cotillard) in Casablanca in 1942 to assassinate a Nazi ambassador.  Falling for each other they decamp to England where they appear to establish a picture-perfect life with their new baby.  A disturbing turn of events, however, puts their relationship to the test and puts both their lives in danger.

A period spy drama is not what we would normally expect from director Robert Zemeckis but for the most part he handles the material well.  Eking out revelations about each character, he slowly ensnares us in the film’s powerful web.   Zemeckis recreates the period reasonably well although some sequences look oddly artificial with some very obvious backlots used.  Also, a few patches of clunky and unintentionally funny dialogue almost kill a couple of scenes.

Of the leads Cotilliard is particularly good bringing warmth, sensuality and an appropriate touch of mystery to the role of Marianne.  Pitt is mostly believable although at times he seems to revert to his grumpy detective character from Seven. Pitt must have a fascination with the Second World War, this is his third film set in that era in recent years.  The supporting players are generally impressive with Simon McBurney quite chilling as an officious Orwellian interrogator and Lizzy Caplan vibrant as Vatan’s sister.

The film at times stretches credulity with Vatan displaying a Spiderman-like ability to evade capture.  He also, comically has instant authority in any situation he walks into; at one point he makes a secret trip to meet up with French resistance fighters and even though they don’t know who he is they obediently follow his commands.

A few credibility threatening moments aside Allied is a mostly effective and at times emotional drama.

Nick’s rating: ***.

Genre: War/ drama.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Robert Zemeckis.

Release date: 26th Dec 2016.

Running time: 124mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.



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