Allied is the latest film from the Oscar winning director Robert Zemeckis, stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard and focuses on their relationship from fellow spies to husband and wife.
That might seem a bit like a spoiler, as a large part of the film takes place before they’re married, however all of this is told directly to the audience in the trailer. This is where my problems with Allied start. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know exactly what’s going to happen and pretty much when all those plot points will happen. Not necessarily the fault of the film itself, more the fault of the marketing team, but having the entirety of the plot, and I’m not using that word as an exaggeration, laid out in the trailer takes so much away from this film.
It’s a real shame because on paper this film could be one of the best thrillers of the year. I’ll hesitantly say spoiler alert but I won’t be talking about anything that’s not mentioned in the trailer.
Set against the backdrop of World War II, Max (Brad Pitt) airdrops into Casablanca. It’s quickly established that Max is a spy and during his time in Casablanca he’ll have a ‘wife’, Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), who was a leading member of the French resistance before they were compromised. The two of them must convince everyone that they’re completely in love (and that Brad Pitt has a Parisian accent) for the sake of their mission, to assassinate a high ranking Nazi official. There’s a very odd dynamic between the two leads during this first segment of the film. In some scenes they’re in front of people and have to act like a married couple, in others they’re on their own and acting like spies. So there’s an acting range that is required there. Pitt and Cotillard are undoubtable good actors but in some scenes things feel quite muddled, as if they weren’t sure what they were supposed to be conveying. Given the circumstances the characters are in you could argue this is an intentional decision from the director but it doesn’t feel intentional.
During this first part of the film we should be seeing the two of them fall in love whilst desperately trying not to, as they know how terribly it could end. Yet you don’t really see this. After their mission they’re in a car and Max blurts out ‘Come with me to London and be my wife.’ It’s the sort of line you can use in a trailer and no one will bat an eyelid but out of the blue just after an action set piece with next to nothing, bar a very odd car sex scene, to imply that these two might actually be in love, it sticks out like a sore thumb. I don’t think this is the fault of the actors, who do have moments where they can shine in this film, but more a fault of the direction. It feels like Zemeckis is trying to do a jigsaw without all the pieces.
Anyway, she agrees to come with him because you know, it’s Brad Pitt why wouldn’t you? I’m writing this review on the day I watched this film but I’m struggling to remember 100% what happens next… Probably something along the lines of; they get married and have a kid during the blitz. (Everyone stops running from all the German bombs to clap the new born in one of this years most ridiculous scenes). This is all very so-so. Although, I did start to buy the fact that they were a married couple and actually cared for each other.
Then comes the bombshell. Did I say bombshell? I meant the plot twist that could have been pretty cool if it wasn’t the basis of the entire marketing for the film. The allied forces believe that Marianne is a German spy and the whole marriage is a cover story. Max is given a mission to find out the truth and if she is found out to be a spy he must kill her himself or be hanged. SPOILER ALERT, I hear you cry… No…. all of this is in the trailer.
Every. Single. Bit.
And maybe that’s why this film didn’t grab me the way that it should have done. Bar the very end result as to whether she is a German spy or not, the film was all in the trailer, an increasing problem in todays times but this is a worse case than usual. It isn’t also a case of this happens early in the film so although it’s a plot twist, it’s acceptable to have it in the trailer. This happens quite late in the second third of this film. There’s only one question not answered in the trailer. As I said, is she a spy or not?
I didn’t hate this film by any stretch it just feels very forgettable. With the story it’s got, it could have been great, it’s a shame that the trailer spoilt so much of it. There are only a few incredibly tense scenes where the whole last third should be edge of your seat stuff. I was curious to see the outcome but didn’t overly care which way it went. If I’d payed for this film, I might be more annoyed about it the ineffectiveness of some of the film.
I’m battling between giving this film a 2-star or a 3-star review as it wasn’t terrible and I think a certain amount of the film was spoilt by the trailer not by the film itself. However based on the fact that I probably wouldn’t sit down to watch it again any time in the foreseeable future I think I’ll have to go for a 2-star.