Sexual Tension and Spousal Spying in Nostalgic World War II Flick Allied | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Sexual Tension and Spousal Spying in Nostalgic World War II Flick Allied 

Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt in Allied

Photo by Daniel Smith | Paramount Pictures

Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt in Allied

The only unexpected part of Allied is that director Robert Zemeckis didn't shoot it in black and white. The film is so steeped in the glossy nostalgia of World War II romance movies that it actually spends its opening act in Casablanca, which is littered with Nazis, no less. But any hope that this is the beginning of a beautiful romantic thriller is nixed when the characters and storyline culminate at—you guessed it—an airfield.

On a secret assignment for the Brits, renowned Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) rendezvouses in Morocco with Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), a savvy French resistance fighter. Max and Marianne's vocations have left them staunchly celibate. Posing as a married couple while undercover, they spend their evenings on the rooftop of their safe house—that's supposedly where men in Casablanca post-coitally retire.

The sexual tension between Max and Marianne remains unrequited until after they carry out their mission, in which they go Inglourious Basterds on a German ambassador and his Nazi dinner party. Sex in a sandstorm follows their getaway, and suddenly, Max pops the question and asks Marianne to settle down with him in London.

Marital life brings an odd change in personalities. The taciturn Max becomes a chatty, love-struck hubby; the coldblooded Marianne adopts the role of happy hostess and homemaker, even giving birth under the canopy of a computer-generated Blitz. In contrast with much of Zemeckis's PG-rated filmography, there's lots of conspicuous chatter about "fucking" in this R-rated, war-torn milieu, a London where the only reprieve from air raids is drunken carousing.

Max's domestic bliss is shattered when a SOE spook (Simon McBurney, regrettably given just one scene) reveals his belief that Marianne is an imposter who is sending secrets to Germany. British intelligence needs only seventy-two hours to feed her counterintelligence and see if it pops up on intercepted wires. But Max, confident of his wife's loyalty, can't wait that long and launches his own fact-finding mission.

Despite its gossamer buildup, Allied eventually reaches the zenith for any thriller: the moment where the denouement could go in any of a half-dozen directions, and viewers don't know what's liable to happen. Unfortunately, Zemeckis's banal impulses squander this crucial juncture. He and screenwriter Steven Knight opt for a Spielbergian climax that feels mercilessly focus-grouped, craning their necks in search of sunbathed, undeserved redemption.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Play It Again, Brad."

  • Robert Zemeckis’s film, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, just opened in the Triangle.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

The lobster is arbitrarily asinine, disjointed, and gratuitously violent towards both humans and former humans that "didn't make it." If …

by Marco_Polo on The Lobster Surreally Skewers Society’s Fear of Single People (Film Review)

The only peeople who murdered those boys were let off by an inexperienced prosecutor and hoodwinked judge. The facts are …

by Greg 1 on The West Memphis Three are free ... what about the real killer? (Film Review)

"Miles Ahead"... "opening Friday".... where? I'm having a tough time finding film times/locations on www.indyweek.com now. The …

by Tbone on Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis Film, Miles Ahead, Isn’t a Real Biopic—It’s Something Better (Film Review)

Actually, many evangelicals and other Christians would not agree with the notion that "if you are a true believer you …

by bsquizzato on Film Review: Christian Movie Miracles From Heaven Goes Where Secular Hollywood Won't (Film Review)

Comments

The lobster is arbitrarily asinine, disjointed, and gratuitously violent towards both humans and former humans that "didn't make it." If …

by Marco_Polo on The Lobster Surreally Skewers Society’s Fear of Single People (Film Review)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation