The latest film from Robert Zemeckis, Allied, is an impressively compelling attempt at an old-fashioned drama, enriched through clever cinematography as well as a satisfying performance from Brad Pitt and an even better one by Marion Cotillard.
As the film opens in 1942 during the Second World War, intelligence officer Max Vatan (Pitt) parachutes into North Africa and makes his way to Casablanca. Whilst on a lethal mission, he meets French resistance fighter, Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard). They fall in love whilst working together on a job to kill a German official, and subsequently Max persuades Marianne to join him in London. The blissful couple soon have a child together. However, their relationship is put under fire when Max is told that Marianne could potentially be a Nazi spy. He’s given 72 hours to uncover the truth and if the suspicions are proven true, he must execute her or face being hanged. To heighten tensions further, Max is forced to continue his normal relationship with Marianne.
The film’s writer, Steven Knight, gives viewers a clever and tumultuous plot that keeps viewers attempting to predict the truth about Marianne without becoming too complex or drawn-out. Director Zemeckis is, of course, distinguished for constructing films that blaze the trail for technology. While he manages to craft some technical masterpieces – such as Marianne giving birth through an air raid – he proves that he can create just as much exhilaration and thrill by using only a few people in small spaces.
Pitt makes his third appearance in a WWII epic after Inglourious Basterds and Fury. He is suitably charismatic in the initial scenes and believably tormented when anguished by the prospect of deception by his love. Cotillard is also stunning in her role as Marianne, the depth in her portrayal causes the audience to be enchanted yet confused by her personality and intents. Cotillard successfully keeps us speculating throughout the film and delivers yet another sensational performance.
Allied is a movie in which all aspects weave together in a seamless fashion, including the exceptional contributions from cinematographer, Don Burgess, and composer Alan Silvestri. It is a charming tribute to Hollywood films of the golden age, filled with politics, action, romance and wit depicted through effervescently chic movie stars.