Saturday, November 26, 2016

ALLIED (2016)

Rated: R

STARS: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard
DIRECTOR: Robert Zemeckis
GENRE: Drama/Action-Adventure/Romance

Allied has a little something for everybody. Action...adventure...intrigue...espionage...suspense... romance...and the eye candy of Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. (So I guess they can be forgiven for not coming up with a more imaginative title!)

Pitt is Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan. Cotillard is French resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (don't make me spell that name again). Eye candy meets eye candy behind enemy lines in 1942 Morocco, where they devour each other upon first glance. It's not love at first sight, but it is marriage at first sight, as their cover story is that they are husband and wife. They hit the ground running with their act for the benefit of friends and Nazis. Their mission is to assassinate a high ranking German official and high-tail it outta Dodge (or Casablanca in this case).

Playing a role can sometimes put you in the mood for the real thing, and Vatan wants to make her his wife for real, which they take care of in London. Before you know it, a little one--Anna--pops out, and the three of them have one idyllic year together before the feces hits the fan. Max is called to Special Operations headquarters where he is informed that Marianne just might be a double agent, working for the Germans. Imagine his conflicted emotions when he is informed that if suspicions are true, HE will be expected to eliminate her. His wife...the mother of his child! Everything that comes after that would be a spoiler. But there's a lot to reflect on, primarily about how loyalty to duty and country trumps all human considerations in time of war. Could he carry out such a mind-bogglingly horrific order--if it comes to that--or will love conquer all (or at least take a valiant stab at it) in the end?

There is one quirky little scene in Allied that seems out of place. Vatan is shuffling cards like a magician to prove to a skeptical Nazi that he's a serious poker player, but the sequence goes on for so long it becomes cartoonish. I started to wonder if we were going to veer off into serio-comic territory, a la Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but fortunately the rest of the film plays it straight.

Pitt and the doe-eyed Cotlllard create some onscreen steam together, which probably wasn't difficult since rumor has it they were hooking up romantically for real throughout the filming.

That's called taking your work home with you.

Grade:  B +


Tim pretty much covered the main points of Allied and he'll get no arguments from me. As for the two lead's pheremone-filled chemistry? I definitely feel Angelina had just cause to worry! And all through the movie, I kept being impressed with how well-preserved Brad is at age 52. Nary a wrinkle graces his cherubic face -- and he's got a nice ass, too! But enough about the film's more profound points...

Allied is definitely an attention-grabber. Just as I thought I knew what was happening, a new plot twist would emerge and foil my assumptions. Is Vatan's wife a spy? Will he be forced to execute the woman he loves? This brings up my one bone of contention which is how Brad Pitt's character could be, on the one hand, such a cold-blooded killer and, on the other, so blinded by love? I'm not sure director Robert Zemeckis (Back To The FutureCast Away,Forrest Gump) could have directed it any differently. And if he had, the film might have lost a lot of its impact.

I won't give anything away by this, but I do want to mention and praise the acting of Marion Bailey who plays Mrs. Sinclair, a kindly baby sitter. 

Grade: B+ (sorry to be such a copycat, Tim)