By Darlene Donloe
The opening scene of the drama Allied has Brad Pitt parachuting behind enemy lines.
He plays Max Vatan, a World War II British intelligence officer stationed in North Africa in 1942.
He’s there on a mission to assassinate a German official. He is paired up with a French Resistance fighter named Marianne Beausejour, aptly played by Marion Cotillard. Beausejour, who has never met Vatan, pretends to be his loving wife. Careful not to blow their cover, the two must keep up appearances in order to gain the confidence and access to the German elite.
When the mission in completed, the two spies fall in love, marry and become parents. Everything is fine, well, as fine as anything can be when you’re part of the intelligence community.
Vatan’s world is rocked when his superiors inform him that his wife may be a double spy.
Refusing to believe the allegations, Vatan, who truly loves his wife, sets out to prove them wrong.
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard
That’s when the movie starts to kick in. From that point on every move Vatan makes and every move Beausejour makes look and seem suspicious.
Is she a spy or isn’t she? The audience literally doesn’t find out until the very end of the film.
Out in theaters nationwide November 23, Allied (Paramount Pictures) is being marketed as a sexy, suspenseful thriller.
There is some notable intrigue in this old-fashioned film, and more than a few sexy model-like close-ups of Brad Pitt. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
Surprisingly, this “sexy” thriller displays very little chemistry between the two leads. There is a love scene that takes place during a sand storm that should, in theory, melt the screen. It doesn’t. The sound of the sand is annoying. The heat that should rise from their claimed love is only lukewarm.
Ironically, Cotillard’s character says several times during the film, “I keep the emotions real. That’s why it works.” It’s ironic because the film lacks emotions.
Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump/What Lies Beneath) directs this interesting drama. There are several old school sweeping vista shots giving the film a special texture. Zemeckis’ film is a throwback to a particular era, most notably the Casablanca-ish film noir of a bygone time. The story is inviting, but the execution doesn’t quite pull it all together. Both Cotillard and Pitt, who has done several WWII films, give good performances, but their romance seems stiff.
The film feels a bit like Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Allied, directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Steven Knight, stars Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan, Matthew Goode and Simon McBurney.
ON THE DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent) Allied gets an L (likeable).
Allied is Rated R: (for violence, some sexuality/nudity, language and brief drug use);
Running time: 2 h 4 min.