Allied Review

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4.5

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In 1942, an intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.

The newest film from Robert Zemeckis explores a relationship forged against the setting of world war 2, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in the lead roles of this drama, thriller. Zemeckis hasn’t been directing a lot of films in recent years, so I was interested to see his latest effort.

Having always demonstrated a strong visual style, it’s no surprise that Allied is well shot, and takes advantage of interesting landscapes, utilising some engaging visual tools throughout the film. It opens with a memorable shot introducing Brad Pitt’s character in the Moroccan desert, and follows this up with captivating shots of city scapes to begin developing the romantic elements of our central characters.

The opening act of Allied has a tough job, tasked with delivering what is essentially enough content to complete an entire film, it seeks to build a strong but young relationship, and mature it into something more venerable before the films central tale and theme can really begin to unfold and take shape. This approach tends to leave a core aspect of the film a little too glossed over, as this character building is rushed to achieve a specific outcome, so that it will provide a stronger dramatic context for the main events to be revealed.

It results in a somewhat forced plot, and feels as though we’re seeing an abridged version of events simply to move the plot along. It also gives something of a meandering feel to the opening act, which isn’t overcome until some specific events are revealed later on.

After its lacklustre opening act however, the film enters some more morally complex terrain, which is where the film is most engaging. While overall it’s generally obvious where the film is heading before it gets there, it still manages to deliver some sound intrigue and suspense, as well as a mystery that is unfortunately too underdeveloped to be effective.

Suprisingly, and disappontingly what is also working against the film is a rare case of a bland performance on Brad Pitt’s behalf. Overall Pitt delivers a seemingly unengaged and ambivalent performance that would have benefitted from some more emotionally charged scenes. Given the nature of the material being explored, it’s hard to feel as though there were more than a few missed opportunities for confrontations between the key characters.

Marion Cotillard is more interesting here, she shines in the necessity of an ambiguous performance that is required for this role, but again it’s underwritten in the sense that there’s no real opportunity to deliver some memorable scenes, that the material could really quite easily call for.

Allied still has enough going for it however to be an enjoyable time at the movies, while underwhelming it still manages to be mostly engaging, and interesting. In a technical sense it is a strong film and well constructed, but overall it falls well short of it’s potential potential as a war time romantic, drama/thriller.

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars, Allied is in cinemas from 26th December 2016.

Leith spent most of his formative years growing up on the coastal fringes of Western Australia without a cinema in sight. There he grew up on the wonders of home rentals before relocating to Perth and gaining access to a proper cinematic experience just in time for the Star Wars Special Edition re-releases. From there Leith's love of movies expanded to volunteering on a Star Wars fan film, reviewing films, writing about film news, and attending film and pop-culture related conventions on the other side of the world. Leith's favourite films are too many to mention but all start with the Star Wars saga, Back to the Future, the Dark Knight trilogy, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings and all things Kevin Smith. With an insatiable appetite for all things pop-culture related Leith also has an unhealthy addiction to the world of comics and can often be found buried under a pile of unread back issues madly trying to catch up on a number of titles coming out from mostly DC and Darkhorse.
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