There is an inherent beauty in the wake of great and epic tragedy. This is what Robert Zemeckis was hoping to exploit in his new World War II romance, Allied, but instead the film resigns itself to a superficial coating, with a hollowed center. Following Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), a canadian operative working with british intelligence assigned to infiltrate and assassinate a German ambassador in Casablanca in the midst of WWII. It is here that he colludes with the beautiful and dangerous Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard). In the act, the two are meant to present the facade of a loving married couple, which is ironic since the chemistry between them is about a substantive as a Michael Bay movie. For all the swirling rumors of misdeeds between the two leads off camera, it’s surprising to see such lifelessness in terms of chemistry. It’s just a dour and empty story, that concedes itself to its performances, and fails miserably as a result.
Zemeckis does his best to develop reasonable and fluid action, and there are plenty of moments that will raise hairs, but ultimately the film slags when it needs to captivate. Max and Marianne parlay their faux relationship into a real one (shocker) as they complete their objective and make there way back to London. They wed in a big how to do, the military presence in full force, and we soon learn of Marianne’s pregnancy. We then flash forward to a hospital under mortar fire during a massive Nazi barrage. The bullets and bombs rain down in poetic hellstorm as Marianne and Max welcome their baby girl into the world. These are the moments that are meant to strike a powerful connection, but the pacing creates an insoluble divide between the the characters and the audience. The Time in Casablanca is meant to provide the exposition necessary to draw a distinct emotional bond, but the lack of heat between Pitt and Cotillard puts the kibosh on that pretty hard.
The first act is all a build up to the meat of the material. Max is called in and advised of the potential that his wife, and the mother of his child could very well be a German spy and if that is to be found true, he is to execute her himself. This should have been a major turning point, were it not for Pitt’s interminably stoic and bland performance. Typically the allure of mischief and mystery are what Drive Pitt to create some of his most memorable characters, but it feels like he just phoned this one in the whole way through. All of the legwork then falls on Cotillard, who herself becomes this posh vibrant fembot, a derivative of the all to artificial romance.
The crux of the story revolves around the relationship, and not the action, which is why this film flounders right out of the gate and never recovers. Pitt and Cotillard are a loveless and borderline apathetic couple. The climax is completely telegraphed, and so anyone over the age of 10 need not fret over possible confusion. The pacing balances out in the final act, and manages to dredge up some semi-decent intrigue, only to be squandered with more awkward exchanges between the two main characters. This is Pitt’s biggest let down. He gives his least interesting performance in years, and seems comfortable just being Brad Pitt instead of inhabiting the character of Max. The movie is slow-as-can-be during a large portion of it’s run time–and leaving Pitt to carry the film is the fatal flaw that sinks the ship. Cotillard is given a very on the nose character, and the mystery isn’t veiled enough. The film tips it’s hand too early and leaves Cotillard on a ledge in a windstorm. This becomes a monotonous display of cliched intrigue cinema, meant to elicit tears, but instead it draws yawns again and again. Not Zemeckis’ finest work, and possibly Pitt’s worst, Allied is a giant turkey of a movie, which is good for Thanksgiving, but bad for box office.
2.2/5 Do Better Bro