Allied (2016)

All this film needed was to be in black-and-white. And to have better credits at the end.

I’m inclined to say you’ve heard of this film, since every time I mention “That movie with Brad Pitt where his wife might be a spy,” people say, “Oh, I wanted to see that!” But honestly, stars and plot aside, the real reason I wanted to see this film was because it was directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the FutureCast Away).

There are several great directors in the history of cinema, men and women who make motion pictures that are almost literary in their depiction of the human condition. And then you have Robert Zemeckis, “Bob” to his friends, who just seeks to entertain you as much as humanly possible. When you’re watching one of his films—and Allied is no exception—you never forget that you’re watching a motion picture. The music is swelling and the images are almost beyond reality. It’s a fantastic feeling.

Allied is about Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), who has to kill a Nazi ambassador in Casablanca. Marianne (Marion Cotillard) is set-up as his wife, and they work together to accomplish the mission. When they’ve done it, Max takes Marianne back to England to be his real wife, and they start a family as the war goes on. It’s all fine and well until Max is told his wife might be a German spy, and that he’ll have to kill her if she is…

The story was written by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders), and it is about as old-fashioned as they come. Most of this film is, except there’s no denying it was made in the present day (watch for Max and Marianne to make love during a sandstorm—wow). It’s a really excellent film, anchored by two phenomenal performances by its leads, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Yes, as I said above, the end credits are inconceivably amateur, like a student film made by a senior (citizen), but maybe there’s more to Zemeckis than I believed. Literature isn’t always stuffy and filled with big words. Sometimes it’s simple like Forrest Gump… or fun like Back to the Future… or romantic like Allied.

Watching this movie is like reading a classic novel.

3.5 Green

Allied is in theaters now.

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