January 6, 2017 6:30:42 pm
Allied movie director: Robert Zemeckis
Allied movie cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris
There is a lot of Casablanca in Allied — down to the setting, the war, the spies, the Vichy and Resistance, the Germans, a piano, and the song, Le Marsailles, to be played at a crucial point. But where the 1942 film had its war loyalties clearly defined, the passage of time allows Allied to take its characters beyond WWII, while not asking too many questions about it either.
Max (Pitt) and Marion (Cotillard) meet in Casablanca, where the two have been tasked to pose as husband and wife to pull off a mission. While Max is a Canadian Wing Commander, Marion is working for the French Resistance, and has been setting the ground for the two of them to easily enter the German high circles in the city where all the worlds again cross amid music and dance. The Germans are clearly fascinated with the prettiest lady in the room, and one scene where Marion inveigles an invitation to a ball from a Nazi officer throbs with tension.
Marion is clearly in charge of the situation in Casablanca and, from the beginning, it is obvious where she and Max are headed. All Pitt needs to do is look on in wonder — and he does that, largely — as the brilliant Cotillard draws him in with an aura of tragedy, mystery and deep, unrequited love. Given the abrupt jumps, it is clear though that the Censors have chopped some of that.
Their adventures in Casablanca, a little too aptly and unconvincingly executed, last for only a little time, as the film shifts its focus to them married peacefully and in London. You don’t expect that to happen so quickly, or to last long. And that is again because of the guarded Cotillard. The almost somnolent Pitt stirs into star action mode only when a big secret threatens their quotidien world.
While the plot may not seem much, Zemeckis’s strength lies in making us believe in the intensity of the relationship between Max and Marion, and in hinting at a constant cloud over it.
Which is why the end disappoints. A strong love such as that, between two strong characters such as that, deserves a finale that the film is too weak to contemplate.
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