Curtains Up on Allied

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Allied is a 1940’s set spy thriller and love story that stars two of the movie business’ most attractive personalities and places them in locations like exotic Casablanca and pre-war London. It is a love letter to the way things used to be in Hollywood directed by an industry veteran who knows his way around a camera.

Brad Pitt plays Max Vatan, a Canadian intelligence officer. Marion Cotillard plays Marianne, a fighter for the French Resistance. They play a loving married couple who, years before their first child, meet during a secret mission. The happily live in London until the war breaks out and Vatan is presented with the possibility that his wife is a spy working for the Nazis. If she is, he must kill her or risk being executed himself.

Robert Zemeckis, a master in the creation of complex special effects movies reigns it in this time, channeling the old masters like Lean, Hitchcock and Curtiz. This is more Flight then Back to the Future of you get my drift. Intimate — yet with scale. There are a few war scenes that prove that he still has it in him.  Tech credits are superlative.

The star of the show is Cotillard. There will be references to Ingrid Bergman because, like her, she fits the period perfectly. Coupled with the French accent, the excellent costumes, she sets the screen on fire. Pitt is my problem. When paired with Cotillard, he’s aces. He looks the part of a handsome soldier and matinee idol but he seems out of place when not bouncing off Cotillard. He’s too rigid for the character, who is written as a straight arrow of sorts. Maybe an lesser known and more interesting actor would have done better. Wonder what Tom Hardy would have done here? Still, it’s my problem and there is more than enough here, aside from my quibbles, to recommend.

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