"Knight’s neat little story somehow gets lost in long takes of silence and minimal action"
It’s 1942 in Casablanca as we see Agent Max Vatan get picked up in the middle of the desert and embark on a risky mission with the insanely charming French agent Marianne Beausejour. Appearing to locals as a happily married couple following bizarre Moroccan traditions and displaying sickening signs of affection, underneath the two have a very real mission that is so much more than pretending.
Allied starts promisingly; with an air of ambiguity, intriguing scenes and the façade our two main characters manage to obtain makes for an interesting watch. The elements of war alongside, a budding romance are certainly good foundations to build on. Although the surprisingly slow execution well and truly makes us wait for the succulent centre and when it gets here, we all saw it coming anyway. Predictably Max (Brad Pitt) and Marianne (Marion Cotillard) grow closer together after their life endangering mission actually pays off, the two run away and marry in quick concession.
Max goes back to a seemingly normal life in the office alongside boss Frank (Jared Harris) until he gets called in and asked to investigate none other than his wife and now mother of his child. The film then takes a turn into 'is she, isn’t she' territory which gives this the edge it desperately needs. Twists and turns may have you on the edge of your seat, albeit the slow pace of this secret agent action flick encourages seat shuffling and the desire for what the trailer promised.
At times the fact that we are watching not one, but two beyond talented 21st Century actors is negligible. For some reason the 40’s ambiance doesn’t quite gel on screen and it becomes rather easy to forget that this is a period piece and that these actors despite their rather recognisable faces are who they are. It almost seems as though Pitt has an abundance of make-up on, or they have given him a face lift whilst editing which subtracts from the subject at hand. By the by, this war torn piece makes way for a sporadic action Nazi-torn universe to wow us with romance.
A wealth of ‘vomit-worthy’ cheesy love scenes rear their ugly heads here. Quirky, cute and down to earth aspects of their relationship are diluted by classic representations of how Hollywood sees love. Pitt and Cotillard make quite the pair as this classic on screen couple that can secretly kick arse if needed. Chemistry shines through, as Cotillard is possible in her most delightfully adorable role, whilst Pitt plays the secret agent come father figure that we all know he is capable of.
Perhaps you may find it hard to forget recent press allegations towards a certain someone but hopefully it shan’t cloud the mesmerising performance the man gives on screen. With more than a few stagnant moments, Allied is a well-acted, moving love story in its own right with just enough tropes of war to hold ones attention.