“Allied”

FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Allied,” which stars Brad Pitt (Fury, World War Z), Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises), Jared Harris (Pompeii, Lincoln), and Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield, The Interview). It is directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump) and written by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Peaky Blinders [TV series]). Set in 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer named Max (Pitt) goes on a secret mission that involves going undercover with another operative; a French resistance fighter named Marianne (Cotillard). They pose as husband and wife, and through their mission they find love, only for one of them to come across a shocking revelation that may ruin everything.

You could say that I was interested in seeing a film set in the 1940s, starring Brad Pitt, and directed by Robert Zemeckis. Seriously guys, this movie has plenty of chips on the board to be a great endeavor. It has a lot of what I love and consider to be sweet treats of cinema, though after viewing the whole picture, I will say that it fell short. That’s not to say that this isn’t a good movie, for it is in fact a solid experience to take in. However, it did not meet my expectations, and I’ll explain why further along this review. To start, I must say that Zemeckis did another incredible job in directing. Usually with his films, you experience a glossy, adventure-esque breathe of fresh air with taste. His shots and sets that fill the story are beautiful, and he usually has some sort of visual effects worked in that give a broader range to what you can film. I liked the look and feel this movie presented. It isn’t new, but it’s one I can respect since I enjoy flicks like it. The same goes for the story. We’ve all witnessed tales of a rift between a family over espionage and politics; television series like “The Americans” and “Colony” have been recent examples. Though some of it may seem familiar, this topic of whether or not Marianne is working for the Germans is not the whole story. In fact, there’s much more to it, and I believe that is what saves the film. Character development is a key factor that is placed in order to build to this moment of intensity and sheer thrill. It actually took until the halfway point of the release for the plot to actually delve into this conspiracy that is promoted in the trailers. What we are left with is a get-to-know session of Max and Marianne; how they got involved, what are their aspirations after the war, and their overall fondness for one another. It’s strictly a piece on love and deceit, and how it’s hard to trust anyone in times of war. I enjoyed the story for what it was. It had enough suspense to hold my interest and offered some really good scenes. The locations were beautiful and the look of this worked towards the favor of the plot. I also enjoyed the score, composed by Alan Silvestri. Sure, the meat of the story came in the final act, but without the development done in the first and second acts, the conclusion would not have been as impactful. All of the performances given in this picture were really good. You can’t go wrong with Brad Pitt, and Marion Cotillard did an exceptional job. Their chemistry onscreen was brilliant, especially when there was conflict. They truly drove this story to better heights than it would’ve gotten with other actors. There’s quite a bit to admire in this film, though there are certain things that hold it back from being better than it could’ve been. One of those is its pacing. When I mentioned that there was built up to the climax in the third act, I really meant it; there is a lot of build up. So much so that it can feel dry and slow in a lot of areas. When Max and Marianne first meet, we slowly dive into their mission which soon evolves to them getting married, and from then on the story just listlessly drifts until the big conflict arises. Things certainly get better the further you delve into this movie, but it comes with quite a bit of bumps. Another issue lies in some of the visual effects. Though there were some that looked really good, others were blatantly fake-looking, and often pulled me out of the story. You’ll notice what is CGI and what isn’t by simply watching the film, but I expected better work coming from Zemeckis’ team. Lastly, the ending is conflicting to figure out whether I like it or not. It’ll certainly leave many popcorn watchers frustrated, but I don’t know what to think of it. It may be too sad for its own good, though in some respects it works. I won’t hold the picture down because of it, however it does leave a sour taste in my mouth. Overall, “Allied” was an interesting feature to watch that had a solid amount of suspense to keep me engaged. Plus, Zemeckis’ direction and cast were great. If you are interested in seeing it, I’d say go for it. I don’t hold it as either great nor terrible. FINAL SCORE: 83%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

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