December 6, 2016
By Tiffany Skelnik
“Allied”, directed by Robert Zemeckis, is a romantic thriller set during World War II starring Brad Pitt and Marian Cotillard. Brad Pitt plays Max Vatan, a Canadian spy who meets and works with Cotillard’s Marianne Beauséjour. The film follows Vatan as he plays husband to Marianne in a ruse that soon becomes reality while on a mission in Casablanca. Things for the happy couple soon take a turn as Max is told that his wife is suspected of being a German spy. The real thrill of the film lies within the “is she, or isn’t she?” dynamic and the air of mystery that surrounds this revelation.
One of the film’s strengths is the phenomenal atmosphere that is presented. Zemeckis’ direction and Joanna Johnston’s costumes allow viewers to be transported to the year 1943. The setting and establishment of the time period were successful in the film. It felt classic and the slow burn pace suited it perfectly.
Performances by both Pitt and Cotillard carried the story. The audience does not find it hard to believable that Marianne may have more than a few secrets but, in her interactions with Max, it is uncertain just what those secrets may be. It is clear in her performance that there is affection between them and it makes the mystery and the possibility as heartbreaking for the viewer as it is for Max. Cotillard provides an entertaining performance full of twists and turns that cause second, third and even fourth guessing as the story unfolds. I can see Cotillard receiving an Oscar nomination for this role.
Brad Pitt’s performance balances well with Cotillard’s. His desperation is evident throughout the film as he learns more about his wife and struggles to decipher the truth from the lies. All the while, he remains devoted to his wife. Although I didn’t feel that his performance was as strong as in previous projects, he still gives a fantastic performance in “Allied”.
“Allied” is a film that provides an engaging plot, a perplexing mystery and a beautifully told love story spliced with just enough action. The film will entertain fans of old school spy stories, romance fans as well as those who have an interest in World War II, but don’t necessarily want to see another traditional soldier movie. I definitely recommend giving this film a shot.