Robert Zemeckis’ Allied is an engaging mystery thriller, even if it is not always satisfying. The film is beautifully shot and reels in viewers thanks to decent direction.
During World War II, intelligence officer Max Vatan encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour in Morocco. The pair engage in a deadly mission in the Nazi-occupied territory…
Directed by Robert Zemeckis and scripted by Steven Knight, Allied aims to hark back to the glory days of the espionage thriller. It is successful in some respects; the period setting is beautifully represented, and there is sufficient mystery to maintain the viewer’s attention. On the surface, the film is very much what is required from a film of this genre. Nevertheless, not every aspect of the film excels under scrutiny.
The central premise of the film is whether intelligence officer Vatan can trust French Resistance fighter Beausejour. This is as true of the first third of the film, as it is the remainder of the duration. The dynamic changes so that this becomes even more pivotal. Allied alludes to a number of other spy films with its central narrative. Although it is not the most original of premises, the narrative functions well to keep viewers guessing.
The second half is where the film begins to slide. In his frantic quest for the truth, Vatan seems noticeably sloppy in his investigation and interrogation. For an intelligence officer, his methods are less than covert. Although the race against time does build some tension, the film certainly could have been more nerve-racking in its final third. The ending is rather sentimental, although it is not the worst of conclusions.
Costumes and production design are great in Allied. Cinematographer Don Burgess shoots the film beautifully. Marion Cotillard is as strong as ever as the alluring but unknowable Marianne. Brad Pitt delivers a perfectly fine performance, although he does not really lose himself in the role.
Allied is a formidable package; a great cast and crew and an appealing-looking film. Under this fancy wrapping, however, the film does not do enough to make its mark on the genre.