Allied (2016)

Allied is a Robert Zemeckis film starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as resistance operatives who meet undercover in French Morocco in the middle of the Second World War. Oh, and they fall in love. Written by Steven Knight (other writing credits include Eastern Promises and Peaky Blinders), the story is derived more from espionage folklore than real life. Supported by the increasingly popular Jared Harris (recent memorable turns in The Crown and Mad Men) and Simon McBurney, reprising his perennial role as the creepy bureaucrat (check out his Magisterium-minion in The Golden Compass).

V is for Visual

The film is beautifully presented with a glossy, rather than gritty view of Casablanca, France and London. Special-effected military operations and airfields are a tad artificial but the overall feel is authentic and great to watch. Especially captivating was the film’s portrayal of Hampstead and the Heath. Familiar territory for me and cleverly reproduced, adding to the reality of what, at times, is a picture of suburban family life in wartime Britain.

The Plot Thins

The story for me trips poorly between a character piece and a thriller. My missus adored Brad but I found him a little cold until the plot climax when he did surprise. It was his relationship with Cotillard which, up to that point, just did not gel – plenty of ‘sex-and-drugs’ perhaps, just no emotional ‘rock-and-roll’. No warmth between the leads – despite the lurid and nasty press reports surrounding his real-life marriage problems when the film was released.

Well worth a viewing as a beautifully shot collage of London and the war, Allied is heavy on intrigue but light on depth. Check it out when it hits streaming sites in March 2017.