Take that, carolers!
We know Brad Pitt really likes making World War II movies. This flick is his third, after Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and David Ayer’s underrated Fury, and older audiences should really dig it, as Robert Zemeckis’ latest is quite simply a good old-fashioned wartime thriller.
Allied nearly works as two separate films. The first hour is a tense spy film about a potential assassination that feels like an entertaining mash-up of Casablanca, Anthropoid and Inglourious Basterds. Pitt looks a decade younger as Canadian spy Max Vatan, who teams/hooks up with Marion Cotillard’s French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour in Casablanca. Posing as a married couple, the sexual tension gets as thick as the spycraft. A torrid encounter in a sandstorm is hotter than anything else witnessed in a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster this year.
In the final hour, Zemeckis goes classic Hitch (just imagine this flick with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman) as Max races against time to prove to his smarmy superior (Simon McBurney) that Marianne is not a German spy. If he fails to clear her name, he will have to execute her with his own service pistol, which seems a pretty harsh punishment for both.
Taken alongside 2000’s What Lies Beneath, one wonders what led to Zemeckis’ penchant for testing the loyalties of husbands and wives. The tensions hook stronger than the emotions, as Pitt’s a bit too reticent and detached for audiences to truly connect with Max, and the mystery surrounding Marianne’s loyalties does not allow Cotillard to develop any closer of a relationship. Eventually, sentiments surface, as dwindling time endangers the happy life of Max, Marianne and their infant daughter. Their loss is our entertaining gain.