“Allied” stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as two spies in World War II who meet and fall in love during a mission to assassinate a German official. Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan and Matthew Goode also star as Robert Zemeckis directs.
This is one of those films that on the surface screams awards season, if not Oscar-bait. Two Academy Award-winning stars and an acclaimed director teaming up to make a WWII period drama released in November? It’s clear what they want to sell this as. Well it turns out “Allied” isn’t really interested in awards (we’ll touch on that), nor is it really centered on the plot its trailers have been selling (again, more on that in a second) but is an old-fashioned adult spy thriller that, for the most part, is fine entertainment.
First things first, the performances are all solid here, but duh. Brad Pitt is never bad (as much as it’s near impossible to see him as a character and not just “Brad Pitt pretending to be [blank]”) and Marion Cotillard is hardly ever bad (we’ll give her a pass for “Dark Knight Rises,” there were way worse things about that film than her death scene). The two have good chemistry and sell their characters, making us buy into their romance but still question their motives.
The production value and costume design are both top notch and really put you into the 1942 settings of WWII North Africa and England. This is where my note about awards comes in, as this film will be what I pick for my Oscar ballot to win those two categories; the score is also mesmerizing.
The biggest problem with “Allied” is it isn’t fully sure what it wants to be, or at least refuses to commit to it. The trailers sell it like the whole film will revolve around Pitt trying to find out if Cotillard is a German spy, but in actuality that plot point doesn’t come into play until the halfway mark. The main plot of the film, at its core, is the love story between these two spies, with a war-torn city as its backdrop.
And I am fine with that, I dug the immersion into the world, but it creates some riffs and some slogs and the middle of the film, transitioning from their assassination mission to Pitt becoming aware of her possible spy-ness (a term?), does slow down and you just want something to happen that isn’t a picnic with their baby.
By the time the credits began to roll, I can say I enjoyed “Allied” enough to recommend it, but also issue a grain-of-salt warning that it is a slow-burner and there are some people who won’t be engrossed by love plot or distracted by the time period and will find the whole ordeal boring. But hey, this is my review and I’m saying if you like the stars, the setting or good ole fashioned spy thrillers, then this is a type of film seldom made anymore worth checking out.
Critics Rating: 7/10