Headed by two beloved acting forces Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt, with a well-established film-maker of the last 30 years Robert Zemeckis, a critically acclaimed screenwriter Steven Knight, a household-name score composer Alan Silvestri, and a narrative set amidst war, politics, romance, intrigue, humor – seen that kind of fodder before, sure, but we always come back. However, and this is a huge however, finely selected, well-loved ingredients are all well and good if you concoct something delicious and memorable, rather than leaving the components to seemingly turn rotten. Allied, in its mixed critical bag status, is not a good motion picture by any small stretch of the imagination. Falls flat from the outset, like its central characters, struggles to move, shackled by a force that remains a mystery. Throughout the movie my mind echoed the same word over and over again: ludicrous.
A film where Brad Pitt’s French accent is so lethargic it is like he is taking the piss a la his Italian in Inglourious Basterds. A film where Marion Cotillard as Marianne mentions being in Casablanca so much you can just about hear Bogart and Bergman politely asking her to shut her mouth – this is not a homage to the classic in any shape or form. Ludicrous to plant that in our minds. A film where a couple of agents pretend to be married but fall in love anyway somewhere along the way – but you clearly miss that part. A film where a successful assassination, including some what-the-fuck shooting-ups of the interiors, compels Max (Pitt) to propose. Ludicrous. Cotillard is having a rough time recently with the poor reception of her movies, but is the ripest of the bad apples here. Pitt appears to be made of cardboard, his wooden / animatronic face only partially comes to life when he gets to say curse a lot a lot. Fucking ludicrous. Screenwriter Steven Knight brought us the very good Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises, and Locke, but with Allied has seemingly been force-fed kryptonite. Robert Zemeckis has had a successful career, especially the early days, but is way out of his depth here. No lavish scenery and attempts at breath-taking cinematography can save him. And composer Alan Silvestri just borrows his own Cast Away tinkles and strings before falling asleep.
The film’s late plot turn, that Marianne might be a spy (no fucking way!), shows that Max cannot believe this revelation, but this is not as grimly awkward as Pitt, the actor, not for the first time in this movie being unable to comprehend his own acting duties. Did he forget his lines? Media speculation about the supposed affair between Pitt and Cotillard is not only a waste of air space, but Angelina Jolie would have left him anyway once she had seen the first cut of this. However, and this is a teeny-weeny however, Allied has two cinematic high points – an air raid taking place while Marianne gives birth (appears ludicrous) but is well shot as all hell breaks lose in the background as a new life enters the world; and an enemy plane shot down from the glowing skies in the distance heads towards a house party. The latter scene book-ended with a jubilant jump for joy that “they got one”, before Marianne declares they forget the war tomorrow and spend time together. Of course, they have a picnic not far from the now heavily populated crash site. Ludicrous.