Film review: Allied


Amidst the ‘Brangelina’ crisis, can Brad Pitt pull off a role so close to his reality or will we see the strain?

The movie begins with the cool and collected Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) parachuting into French Morocco. Max’s smooth decent into danger sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Once on terra firma we follow the transition into Max’s double life and the espionage he is set to take part in. Meeting Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), the double life is complete as the couple work to fool all onlookers as to the sincerity of their emotions. The insight into the skill and the iron nerve required by agents like Max and Marianne proves arresting, however much like James Bond you never really feel they are destined for any chance of failure. This lack of tension takes an element of humanity out of the characters and removes some of the audiences’ emotional empathy, given that it seems they are able to achieve their goals without breaking a sweat and they are not seen to be fighting against the odds.

The film takes a new direction halfway through as the couple decide to make things a reality and return home. We are unsurprised by the revelation that Marianne may be something other than a stay at home mum. The only part of this chapter of the story that is surprising is that Marianne seems to forget that she ever had kick ass skills to match Max the minute a child is introduced. While Max tries with very little resistance to turn the world upside down to uncover the truth, Marianne goes on many picnics. I am not sure if this is just terrible use of a potentially interesting character or a vestigial trace of writers block from a past paternal society. Either way it would have been much more interesting and emotive to see things from the perspective of a women in a foreign land, giving birth to a child and being a double agent, or not, or maybe…

The cinematography is one of the jewels in this particular crown. Deliberately using a blend of CGI throughout that leads you to never even question what is and isn’t real has merit. Not only does this parallel the direction of the story but builds a strong visual background. This backdrop and camerawork makes for some of the best parts of the film. The birth of baby Vatan amidst the bombs of the blitz, and the swirling intensity of the camerawork during a heated scene in the sand storm, engage you exceptionally well.

Allied is not the worst of the WW2 dramas out there, but neither is it the best. Compared with the likes of Inglorious Bastards which also starred Brad Pitt it is hard to praise it too loudly. Squandering half of its potential and taking an awfully long time to tell a fairly simple story, puts Allied as a solid contender for a Sunday afternoon movie. Well polished but unchallenging, it is entertaining but uninspiring.






Author: Joe, Bath store