Allied - This Very Old Fashioned Melodrama Of A Movie Kinda Rocks
Dir: Robert Zemeckis
Starring Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan
Robert Zemeckis is a curious cove, career-wise - an Oscar winning auteur who seems to lack a singuar style. He has moved from Spielberg protégé to making one of cinema’s great trilogies (Back To The Future), to embracing and advancing the nature of film technology through such ground-breaking works as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and testing the boundaries of what motion capture could do with The Polar Express and more. Sometimes his movies remain almost clinical and distancing, (again, his experiments in mo-cap), other times they can be deeply moving and win heaps of Oscars – Forrest Gump.
His most recent movie was a nice blend of both – the visually staggering The Walk. The trouble was, only around three people went to see that.
So now Zemeckis has moved into the romantic thriller genre, but more so, he roots Allied firmly in the melodrama of WWII movies. You know the second they mention they are in Casablanca, that this is the touchstone the director is aiming for. And whilst his movie is often entertaining, we can’t help but feel the same amount of people that checked out the superior The Walk will be queuing up for this one.
And you can certainly bet that the marketing team would rather be dealing with the (incorrectly) rumoured on set romance between its two sexy stars than the fact that almost the entire first act is in French and sub-titled. (Didn’t see that in the trailer, did you?)
Pitt and Cotillard are spies who fall in love and try to have a life during wartime. Yes, a sort of Mr and Mrs Smith in the days of Bogie and Bergman. But when the stiff upper lips of the British secret service suggest Mrs Spy might well be a double agent, well, you know it’s going to be conundrums before dawn.
If you accept Allied for what it is – and what it is is a very deliberately old fashioned, heavily melodramatic pile of entertaining old tosh – that it’s quite a decent ride. But don’t question its plot holes that gape wider than any war wound, or the fact that it becomes very, very silly towards the end.
If you can forgive it these transgressions – which are in keeping with the style it wants to affect – that it’s not half bad.
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