Monday, December 12, 2016

Allied (Directed by Robert Zemeckis) ***

In 1942, Pitt's Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) parachutes into North Africa – the best scene in the film with James Bond style, minus the music. He makes his way to Casablanca. His mission is to assassinate the German ambassador with the help of Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard), a French Resistance fighter who will be posing as his wife and who has gotten herself into the good graces of the local Nazi chiefs. Over the next few days, they prepare themselves for the mission while trying to establish themselves as a loving married couple so as not to arouse any suspicion. There is attraction between them despite their professional attitudes of faking things. Still, their masked fiction fades; the two can’t resist one another which culminates inside a car during a desert dust storm (effective indeed). They complete their mission in an equally spectacular manner. During their escape, Max asks Marianne to return to London with him so that they can get married. She eagerly agrees.
A year later with Max and Marianne are happily married and living in London with their newborn baby Anna. (That labor scene outside at night during an air raid was well done).

Bliss ends when evidence suggests that the real Marianne Beausejour was killed a couple of years earlier and that his wife is actually a German spy. Max cannot believe this but the evidence, while not quite conclusive, is fairly damning. To settle the question once and for all, he is ordered to leave some fake information lying around where she can find it—if it turns up in the next intercepted German communique, she is guilty. If she does turn out to be a spy, Max is required to kill her. 

If he refuses or tries to tip her off, it will lead to his execution as well. To make matters even more discomfiting, not only is Max not allowed to investigate on his own during the three days it will take to get the potentially damning evidence, he has to go on with Marianne. The ending is epic, but the film falls flat. Marion Cotard was great; Brad Pitt was shockingly boring.

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