It’s been 10 months since I wrote my last film review and to be honest, I wondered if I’d ever get back to writing about films again. The number of films I’ve watched has only increased over time but my desire to write about them seems to have faded. There was something, though, about Allied, which was so powerful that I immediately felt the urge to take my laptop out and start typing. I’m writing this sitting on a plane from Beijing to London and for the first time in a while I’m truly feeling motivated to write a review.
Flicking through Air China’s selection of films on board my flight I was truly disappointed by the range of films on offer. There wasn’t a single one that I particularly wanted to watch. After I finished the book I brought with me, I knew I was going to have to watch at least one of these films to save myself from boredom so I opted for Allied. I’m a big fan of both Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard so I figured this would be, at least, passable. In the end, however, this film ended up touching my heart in a way that I didn’t expect at all.
Now onto the review…
Allied is set during the Second World War. The year is 1942 and Canadian intelligence officer, Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), is sent to Casablanca to work on a covert mission with the French Resistance fighter, Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard). Later, when the pair are reunited in London, their relationship is tested by the war with the Germans with deadly consequences.
This film seamlessly blends action, drama and romance together to create a war film that will have you biting your fingernails and then wiping your eyes. Zemeckis brings back good old fashioned romance and I know the story of Marianne and Max’s love will stay with me for a long time. What starts as a whirlwind romance quickly turns to tragedy as the plot takes an unexpected turn halfway through and you won’t know what’s coming. The film seems to move at 100mph in some places but somehow also leaves you time to savour the beautiful cinematography. A feat I have seen few directors achieve.
Every scene oozes 1940s glamour and (almost) makes you pine for an era that was a living hell for most. It’s almost as if this entire film was bathed in a sort of romantic golden light you can’t tear your eyes away from. Both Pitt and Cotillard are in their element and their onscreen chemistry sends sparks flying. And not just because they are two of the most beautiful human beings to ever grace Planet Earth. Their relationship is beautifully touching and they share that kind of love-conquers-all bond that I’ve always dreamed about but somehow it doesn’t seem sappy in the slightest. Somehow everything about this story seems so real. When you take a step back you might begin to question the probability of the plot but when I was watching it I was completely enthralled by the drama.
I know that some critics slated this film, calling it a disappointment, but personally I found this to be a moving and entertaining romantic thriller and I’d highly recommend it to those still dreaming of a times gone by. Admittedly, though, this film prioritises style over substance so one for romantics, not history buffs.