NOT ROBERT ZEMECKIS’ BEST WORK BUT THROUGH TALENTED LEADS AND SMART STORYTELLING, IT KEEPS YOU GUESSING!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** out of 4
Marion Cotillard (left) and Brad Pitt (right) in the World War II spy thriller, Allied
Director, Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, Flight) has quite an interesting directing career. He directed the iconic sci-fi/comedy franchise, Back to the Future, the groundbreaking live-action/animated hybrid, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Oscar bait with Tom Hanks like Forrest Gump and Cast Away, the CG motion capture animated films, The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol, and most recently Flight and The Walk, now he takes us back in time to World War II in the spy caper, Allied.
Like many directors, Robert Zemeckis is another one of my favorites, he has a variety of different and unique films and many of which were critically and commercially successful. Not to mention it helps that he doesn’t have that many bad films in his filmography (Ahem, Mars Needs Moms!) and this is supposedly his first World War II film as well as his second film to take place in the 1940s following Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988.
The film is based around World War II but its story is fictional, which is not a bad thing, but I don’t want people talking to their History teachers and finding false information, but I digress. In terms of movie-watching, it’s not bad, I don’t consider it one of Zemeckis’ best films but for what he did, Allied kept my interest until the end, I like period films, I like spy films, put them together, I don’t see how I could miss it.
Set in 1942, the film follows Canadian intelligence officer, Max Vatan (Brad Pitt-Inglourious Basterds, Moneyball, World War Z) who meets a French Resistance fighter, Marianne Beausejouir (Marion Cotillard-Public Enemies, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) while on a mission behind enemy lines in Morocco, and fall in love. The two of them reunite in London, get married, and have a little girl, everything is perfect.
That is until their relationship is threatened when Vatan is president with the possibility that the love of his life might be a spy working for the Germans. If her guilt is proven Vatan will have to kill her or be executed for failing to follow orders.
Convinced that she is innocent, he sets out on a dangerous mission to clear her name.
Overall, Allied is a thrilling experience that keeps you guessing, even if it isn’t that original with its concept. We have had other romantic war films in the past like Michael Bay’s infamous, Pearl Harbor, but this film destroys it in every way.
What Robert Zemeckis does with Allied that Michael Bay failed to do with Pearl Harbor was making movie-goers care about these characters. You grow attached to Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard and you feel bad when something terrible happens to them, because the characters in Pearl Harbor are about as interesting as cardboard cutouts.
Visually, Zemeckis nails the World War II style in the production design, the traditional brown tint, the designs of the buildings and vehicles, and the costumes and hairstyles of the characters. I’m serious, Robert Zemeckis can take us back in time even without a DeLorean.
It’s no war movie masterpiece or anything like that, but the movie delivers thrills and suspenseful storytelling without having to focus on tanks and planes but rather through interesting characters. Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard have good chemistry together and you don’t know what is going to happen to them as the movie progresses, until a shocking end.
I doubt this would be an Oscar contender like Forrest Gump or Cast Away, the film is good but it’s not amazing or new. But if you want a spy thriller with talented characters and storytelling that will keep you on your toes, Allied may be the movie for you.