Dog’s Movie House: “Allied” A Solid Piece Of Old Fashioned Entertainment!
Howdy Folks! It’s The Kendog!
There’s something to be said for a good old-fashioned story filmed in a good old-fashioned way. There are a variety films out there that go out of their way to be cutting edge both in technique and story. However, there are reasons many of the classics of the golden age of cinema have endured. A story well told is a story well told no matter the era, and while Robert Zemeckis’s latest wartime drama “Allied” doesn’t achieve those lofty heights, it entertainingly harkens back to a different era of moviemaking.
“Allied” tells the tale of Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) a Canadian air officer working with the British during World War II. His latest mission is to assassinate a Nazi ambassador in Casablanca with the help of the lovely female agent Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard). While on the mission, the two fall in love and later return to London where they marry. But all is not well as Vatan’s superiors (played to perfection by Jared Harris and Simon McBurney) have evidence that Marianne may be a Nazi spy. Vatan is tasked with finding out the truth and if Marianne is a double agent, kill her by his own hand.
This film is lovingly crafted by director Zemeckis, who does a terrific job of recreating both World War II-era Casablanca and London. The first part of the film is the most entertaining, with Pitt and Cotillard dancing around their attraction for one another as they determine the best way to take out the German Ambassador. The main trick involves getting invited to a party and writer Steven Knight throes a bunch of compelling and suspenseful cloak-and-dagger moments that make the film a joy to watch.
When we get back to London the pace flags just a bit as the central mystery is tinged with more than a little melodrama. Vatan is clearly devoted to his wife and child, almost blindly so, and while it creates sympathy for his character, it also slows down the narrative a bit. It does help that Cotillard plays Marianne as something of a mystery woman who likes to play mind games, even when there is no one but her devoted husband to play against. In Cotillard’s hands, Marianne is a sympathetic figure despite the air of mystery that surrounds her and despite the fact that as the film continues, there seems to be a steady stream of evidence against her that Vatan clearly doesn’t want to see. I know some folks have had problems with the ending, but I found it appropriate for the melodrama that preceded it.
Overall “Allied” is a solid piece of period filmmaking with fine performances and an interesting story. Pitt and Cotillard are very much in the same mold as those classic movie star couples for the 1930s and 40s and their chemistry is one of the primary reasons to see the film. However, it’s important to note that this is not “Mr. And Mrs. Smith” set during World War II. This is a dramatic piece with a little suspense thrown in to spice things up a bit. The commercials and trailers may be a bit misleading, but this is an entertaining film that will appeal to the more adult filmgoer not interesting in seeing musical cartoons or the latest Harry Potter spectacle. 3 ½ Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!