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Allied Movie Review: Brad Pitt and Marion Cottilard in an Engaging Robert Zemeckis Spy Romance

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Allied starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard

Allied starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. Image via IMP awards.

I liked the film, and this will be a positive review. So if you want to hate on it, you can do so in the comments or just ignore this.

Still with me? Awesome!

Allied is a 2016 feature drama, war, romance movie written by Steven Knight (Locke, Burnt, Eastern Promises) and directed by Robert Zemeckis. (Back to the Future, Flight, Forrest Gump). It stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Night Rises, A Good Year) in the lead roles and features Matthew Goode in a tiny but key part.

It’s important to mention that Allied is an old-fashioned film shot in an old-fashioned way. There is nothing unique or disruptive about it, and this is one of the main reasons I loved it so much.

Now, I love uniqueness and disruption where it is needed. Sometimes, you need to break the rules. Go outside of what is expected. But a sexy, traditional romance story with a bit of action starring your favorite actors directed by one of your favorite directors is sometimes exactly what you need to escape the complexities of your own world.

This is not to say the characters don’t have to go through hell. They do. They must, as any compelling story will have their characters suffer. But before the suffering, there is a tremendous reward, (in the form of a romance), a fun storyline and just beauty.

So here is the Allied Plot: (No spoilers; this is all in the trailer)

Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), a capable Canadian intelligence officer, meets the equally capable and attractive, French operative Marianne (Marion Cotillard) for an assignment that requires them to play a married couple.

It’s easy to fall in love during wartime: They are both intelligent, passionate, successful, and well, beautiful to a fault. By the time their assignment is over, they are a couple in love. They get married soon and have an adorable daughter.

However the biggest challenge for Max won’t be the war, but the accusation from his government that Marianne is a German spy. In 72 hours, her innocence or guilt will be proven. If she is guilty, Max will execute her himself. If he refuses, he will be hanged.

Can the woman he loves really be a spy? And if she is a spy, does it change the fact that he truly loves her?

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It’s a horrible situation to be in, and it provides us the suspense and action we need for the second half of the film as Max tries to prove her innocence by whatever means necessary, while the war is in full swing.

Throughout the film, our focus is on the passionate and loving relationship of our two protagonists. The war is in the background, however horrible it might be.

And Max is in the most horrendous situation of his life. Sure, he has lost friends. He has killed people, in both self-defense and doing his job. But the possibility of being betrayed by his wife, and the fact that he might have to kill her, almost breaks Max, and Brad Pitt does a good job making us feeling his pain.

Of course, when it comes to other things, the screenplay doesn’t bother. When you think about it, both Max and Marianne do horrible things. They had to kill a lot of people: to defend themselves, because it is their job, etc…One could argue wartime ethics and laws are different.

But Max also caused a lot of deaths, directly and indirectly, while he was trying to prove Marianne’s innocence. He didn’t blink an eye. He didn’t have time, was facing a life and death situation, his world was falling apart, etc. But his ability to compartmentalize was so scary and impressive at the same time.

Was there really little to no guilt? Did he have a superior coping mechanism? Or did he have sociopathic tendencies?

As I said, it wasn’t this movie’s goal or job to look into Max’s psychology outside of his feelings for his country/country’s allies or his wife. But if you want to dig deeper, there is a lot to think about.

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