Allied Review

Allied

What do you do when the made up story behind a film becomes bigger than the film itself?

I don’t know, but you hope said movie is good enough to quickly consign such scurrilous media speculation to the distant past.

And I’m not sure Brad Pitt’s new film Allied pulls this off.

The year is 1942, Europe is in thrall to a bunch of dangerous right wing nationalists and whatever’s left of western civilisation has bandied together to stand up for what’s right in this world.

Which is in no way relevant to the political situation we find ourselves in today.

A Brad Pitt shaped secret agent man parachutes into a desert near Casablanca, looking as though he’s just dropped out of the first class bar of a low flying aircraft.

He’s discreetly picked up by a native friend on the other side and driven to his terrible assignment… pretending to be the husband of someone who looks an awful lot like Marion Cotillard.

Now, if I’d have known these were the kind of missions spies get sent on, I might have chosen a very different career path.

Our beautiful looking couple proceed to make everyone else in the room jealous, before retiring to reacquaint themselves with being husband and wife.

But such pillow talk was merely a ruse, designed to dupe their company into believing our heroes are definitely not a couple of lethally trained military officers plotting to off a high ranking nazi in occupied Morocco at the first available opportunity.

They are.

But as our fictitiously happy couple pretend to be lovers for their cover story, lines become blurrier than a Robin Thicke penned song that certainly wasn’t just a flimsy excuse to dance around with models in nothing but their under-rods.

The tricky thing about spies though is that they lie for a living, which makes trusting them a pretty tough ask.

And as Pitt’s canuck falls hard for Cotillard’s charms, he may be setting himself up for an even harder fall.

In one of the boldest pr strategies ever conceived, Brad Pitt sacrificed his own marriage at the hollywood alter of box office success just to promote Allied.

Now that’s commitment to the cause.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Steven Knight, the man behind Peaky Blinders, I had high hopes for this film, but it doesn’t quite manage to hit the target.

Things start off well enough when we’re in Casablanca, as the sumptuous sets and impeccable costumes make you feel like you’ve fallen into a very elaborate perfume ad.

Though Cotillard’s sexy firing range outfit may have been a wardrobe change too far.

There’s even time for a couple of inglorious bastards to reconnect over some more card games and reminisce about the good old days.

Alas, this ends up being the high point of Allied.

After leaving Morocco behind, the story focuses on the human and emotional journey of our heroes, which is far less interesting than their daring deeds of wartime espionage.

Pitt seems to be on autopilot throughout, leaving Cotillard and her designer get up to get up and take centre stage.

Which they duly do.

An impressive ensemble cast are wasted in largely throwaway roles, particularly Matthew Goode’s oddly brief and scarred up cameo, leaving us with a watchable film that ultimately adds up to less than the sum of its considerable talents.

The way our media glorifies celebrities these days, actors have become bigger than the films they appear in – and unfortunately for Pitt and Cotillard, Allied doesn’t buck this disturbing trend.

Jonathan Campbell

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November 2016
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