We'll always have Casablanca
Allied is the latest film by esteemed director Robert Zemeckis (Flight, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Back to the Future). It's high on suspense, fashion and Hollywood beauty. But, unfortunately the rest of the film feels like an imposter. The WWII thriller begins with intelligence officer Max Vatan (Pitt) parachuting into a vast desert before being mysteriously picked up and delivered to Marianne Beauséjour (Cotillard), a French Resistance fighter. The two are undercover as husband and wife. Their mission is to assassinate a specific high ranking Nazi official. Max and Marianne eventually fall in love, and when you think the love birds can't get any happier the unspeakable is suspected (anyone who has seen the film's trailer knows what I'm talking about).
The first half of the film is overreaching- elaborate clothes, Pitt looking debonair, and Cotillard doing her best impression of a 1940s fashion model. The pace is slow and pedantic- and there's that scene where Marianne gives birth outside during an air strike, it's ridiculous. However, the film gains traction during the second half. The acting is dialed up a notch, and the best plot line (the one teased in the trailer) really takes shape. At the film's high point, I was just as puzzled as Max and just as smitten with Marianne. The film plays on a certain sensibility- classic love and war Hollywood style. For some, that alone might make Allied worthwhile. For me, it was a decent escape for two hours and nothing more.