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March 5, 2017

Allied (2017) --- "Guy Discovers His Wife Is Leading A Double Life. What Does He Do?"

Plot Summary
In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer, Max Vatan, in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter, Marianne Beauséjour, on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war. In disbelief, with a terrible task in his hands and crushed under a devastating dilemma, Max must find the courage to seek for answers in the perilous streets of bombarded London, regardless of the outcome. In the end, amid duty and love, who shall live and who shall die? (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     I was skeptical of the movie at first, especially because I was expecting it to be a cross between Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Gone Girl, leading more towards Gone Girl. Now, this film certainly does have great action and special effects but it goes beyond that. The actions scenes, when they do happen, are well choreographed and fun to watch, brutal but not overbearing. Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt are both convincing, proving to the audience that they are well- trained spies who don't hesitate to kill as well demonstrating great chemistry together, similarly to Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

     Something I found very interesting about this movie is that while it's not primarily a war film, it did provide a very interesting look at what life was like for people. This was during a time when people partied like the world was ending and also a time when people sometimes watched planes get shot out of the sky. It is a truly intriguing and personal way of portraying the war, and the effect is had on people living through it.

     The special effects are stunning and it is curiously mystifying how Robert Zemeckis has managed to be both classic and modern. The casting was also great. Cotillard gives a nuanced and deeply felt turn, nothing short of astounding, her character’s ability to lie, once a great asset is now their greatest enemy. However, Pitt's performance has been both criticized and defended but to me, it was appropriately impassive. Despite his character being nowhere near as meaty as Cotillard's he was a worthy partner for Cotillard, a little cold in places but mostly fiery. And this is a wonderful way to weave the story together, making for some excellent tension as well as irony. 
     As I stated earlier, this movie is more than just war and special effects. Allied is an absolutely beautiful mix of; espionage, war, assassinations, parties, family, romantic/steamy moments, costumes, scenery, and it has a mystery to be solved. Some of these things are done magnificently, others are done just well enough. This film does it all, which is more than can be said for most movies these days. 
     Overall, Allied is a great movie, and even though it allowed a few things to get in the way of fulfilling its full potential of being an epic wartime romance, in the end, there are a few clear themes. (1) Putting what's best for those you love above your own needs, (2) trying your hardest to believe the best in people and (3) trusting those closest to you. Even if it means you have to break some rules or put your own life on the line. 

     The ending, which some say was overly-sentimental, hit a chord that worked for me. It showed the lengths people will go to protect their family. As well as showing just how difficult it truly is for spies to fall in love. They fit together in every sense because of their mastery of espionage. And yet, once the twist comes along, that same mastery of espionage is what tears them apart.

     On the other hand, the script and pacing are uneven. First, the script is lacking plausibility in some places, particularly the mission scenes, by having too much padding that's overlong and adds little to nothing to the imagination, it seems almost too easy. While other parts, usually those intended to be emotional, are covered in thick with over-romanticizing and sentimentality. Much more could have been done with the psychological subtext, which would have made Pitt's character more interesting and given the story more consistent suspense and thrills, though the suspense and thrill that we are presented with is good. Finally, the pacing does drag badly quite frequently, primarily due to having unnecessary scenes that lacked momentum and went on too long. This is most likely due to Zemeckis' quite disappointing direction. Now there are moments of greatness but it does lack some of the thrills and cleverness ones expects from Zemeckis that is present in the best of his works such as; Cast Away (2001), Flight (2012), Back to the Future (1985), Forest Gump (1994), Beawolf (2007) and Death Becomes Her (1992) just to name a few.

“Je t'aime, Québécois.”
- Marianne Beausejour

Final Vote
Worth Seeing: 3.9 of 5 stars
Worth Buying: 3.9 of 5stars

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Movies Similar
The Accountant (2016)
Argo (2012)
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Valkyrie (2008)

Cast & Crew
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis.
Writing Credits: Steven Knight
Produced by 
     Graham King                ---    producer
     Steve Starkey                ---    producer
     Robert Zemeckis          ---    producer
     Steven Knight               ---    executive producer
     Jacqueline Levine        ---    executive producer
     Patrick McCormick     ---    executive producer
     Denis O'Sullivan          ---    executive producer
     Jack Rapke                    ---    executive producer
Brad Pitt                             --- Max Vatan
Xavier De Guillebon     --- Claude
Marion Cotillard            --- Marianne Beauséjour
Camille Cottin                 --- Monique
Michael McKell               --- German Officer at Anfa Café
Vincent Latorre              --- Vincent
August Diehl                     --- Hobar
Fleur Poad                         --- Hobar's Secretary
Anton Blake                      --- German Ambassador
Daniel Betts                      --- George Kavanagh
Sally Messham                --- Margaret
Jared Harris                    --- Frank Heslop
Lizzy Caplan                     --- Bridget Vatan
Charlotte Hope               --- Louise

Celeste Dodwell              --- Scarlet

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