Saturday, December 3, 2016

Movie Review #530: "Allied" (2016)

Movie"Allied"
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minute
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During a joint assassination mission in Casablanca, a Canadian spy named Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and a French spy named Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard) fall in love. Upon returning to England where Max is stationed, the two get married and have a child. Their love is tested, however, when Max is told Marianne may be a German spy.

"Allied" is directed by Robert Zemeckis, who has an extensive resume including films like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," the "Back to the Future" trilogy, and of course, the Oscar winning "Forrest Gump," among many others. It is written by Steven Knight, who was a writer on films like "Pawn Sacrifice," "The Hundred-Foot Journey," and "Locke," among many others. It stars Oscar nominee Brad Pitt and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard in the two leading roles. With all of this talent behind the film, one must ask, what could possibly go wrong? That question is answered in the first five seconds of the film when a horribly CGI'ed Brad Pitt parachute landing is the first thing displayed on screen. We have to admit, we were put off by this choice because of first impressions and all that jazz, but when the actual story begins, it's not all awful, though the film itself winds up being a bit of a mixed bag.

The overall concept is intriguing. Two spies from two different countries fall in love, get married and have a kid, only to have it turn out that one of them may or may not be working for the enemy. It's a concept that feels like it deserves better than "Allied," like there could have been a lot more done and said about the subject than what wound up on screen here. There are a couple of engaging moments of genuine tension and exciting action, but from minute 25:01 to 1:40:59, there are gigantic portions filled with lulls that drag on a bit too long and don't seem to simmer just right. Nothing in the middle is there to bridge the mostly good beginning and the rigid, question-filled end to the point where it makes "Allied" a worthwhile story. The sets are nice and the costuming is brilliant, though everything seems a bit too polished and very un-1940's. Marion Cotillard offers a strong performance with what she is given, though Brad Pitt is mediocre at best as her counterpart. Look, we don't want to be jerks and we really, really don't like to pick on actor's looks, but there was something off about Pitt's face throughout the duration of the movie. We aren't sure if Zemeckis implemented a digital de-aging on his face, or if Pitt himself had some sort of work or fillers done, but he looked as if he had been unnaturally smoothed out to make him appear younger. We mention this because it was extremely distracting the entire film, and also speaks to our main problem with the film as a whole. Everything seems a little too artificial to be taken seriously.

In the end, though there is a sprinkling of excitement, a small dose of action, and a couple instances of tension, the uneven pacing and tone of "Allied" winds up hurting its overall feel. There is nothing offensively bad about the movie, but there isn't anything that remarkable about it, either. Cotillard's performance may be worth seeking out, but it's not worth the price of admission to see it in the theater, even with a great ending.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 61%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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