MOVIE REVIEW – A marriage of a real love story and a spy thriller is almost as much of a tricky business as was the whole Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie divorce affair, which overshadowed the production of Allies. The first part of the movie, set in the city of Casablanca puts together two World War Two spies: Max (Brad Pitt) and Marianne (Marion Cotillard) who have a deadly mission to take care off, while they fall in love with each other.
In the classic Hollywood era spy movies were commonly mixed with deep love stories – not just in the now classic Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, but from other directors as well, like Alfred Hitchcock (Notorious! for example, with Cary Grant, and again: Ingrid Bergman in the main roles).
However, with James Bond and later, Jason Bourne and the like, spy thrillers distanced themselves from the romantic flavor, and the relation between male and female spies became rather just sex, often shadowed with paranoia. In that sense, Allied is back to the roots of classic Hollywood spy love stories.
The Spy Who Loved Me
Not that it’s that evident from the first part of Allied. Max Vatan, British ice-cold British agent, and killer in arrives via a parachute in Morocco and later in Casablanca itself, where he meets Marianne Beauséjour. They have one specific mission: to kill the German ambassador together. They have to pose as a French husband and wife (Brad Pitt’s French accent is terrible) to be able to blend in the high society of Casablanca and to able to reach and kill their target.
The first part of the movie is like a slow building James Bond flick, with a cold, detached Brad Pitt, (made a bit younger by CGI) and also a cold, but still very feminine and seductive Marion Cotillard. It has to be said, that Cotillard steals the whole show from every other actor – including Brad Pitt himself. She would be actually a perfect James Bond girl – but this movie is about something else…
“Love and marriage”
Yes, our two super spies fall in love with each other, and they become what they were pretending so far on their mission: husband and wife. The second, more important part of the movie is in London, where they marry, and Marianne gives birth to a child, and they would live happily ever after, if… if… well don’t want to spoil the rest of the story, but you probably guessed anyway, that there would be a hitch.
Hitch or not, the movie is losing its pace a bit after the passage to London. The dramatic event which will put in jeopardy the happy marriage of the Vatan is well developed enough, but the scenario is otherwise a bit too simple and overlooking important character development events, like the one which would explain Marianne’s decisions.
While the mystery which surrounds her character arc isn’t that much shocking or even surprising, some scenes which could dwell a bit more into her character are apparently missing. It’s a shame because Marion Cotillard gives an otherwise stellar performance.
As for Brad Pitt, I actually liked his scenes best, when he comported himself as an ice-cold killer – there are two of those in the movie. It made me wonder, whether Allied would work better as just a bona fide spy thriller with a very strong female character played by stellar Marion Cotillard.
Cotillard saves the day
Yes, indeed, if not for Marion Cotillard’s stellar performance, we would quicker forget this movie then Brad Pitt shooting a German soldier. Robert Zemeckis wanted to play it safe too much, and while we wanted to stay more in his exciting Casablanca, the second half of the movie is too much of a conventional drama. Near the end, we know what will happen anyway…