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9th December 2016

Just Who's Side Are You On Anyway?

From Back to the Future to The Polar Express, it’s fair to say that Director Robert Zemeckis has quite a varied repertoire when it comes to movies. His latest, Allied, was written by Steven Knight (Locke, Seventh Son and the upcoming World War Z 2).

Allied sees Max Vatan, played by Brad Pitt (World War Z, Fight Club), an American solider sent to Morocco in war-torn 1942. There he meets up with Marianne Beausejour, played by Marion Cotillard (Inception, La Vie en Rose) a French resistant fighter and together they complete their mission but also fall in love, that old chestnut. They head back to London where Vatan continues his war work whereas Beausejour ceases and plays mother to their daughter.

At some point, Vatan is called in to see a mysterious division of the British army who suspect his new wife of being a German spy. The question is raised, suspicion abounds and it’s a is she or isn’t she, who is she movie.

There’s quite a lot to say about Allied and I’m afraid not much of it is good. It’s a long, just over two hours in total, drawn out affair that is slower than a snail riding a tortoise. Cotillard is good despite having not a lot to do in the middle and final third of the movie. The supporting cast are resigned to just that, support, and feature in slim-to-fleeting moments.

There are moments when you feel the film should, or is about to, pickup the pace. Perhaps once all the ‘they’ve met, fallen in love, completed their mission’ is over it will race to the conclusion? I’m afraid it doesn’t. It continues on a go-slow. Sometimes in a film this isn’t a bad thing, but those films are better than Allied.

Allied doesn’t present any kind of tension, there isn’t the feeling of ‘is she or isn’t she’ because what feeling did exist is lost by the fact it takes an age to get there and you saw it coming way before. Any feelings you have towards the two protagonists is lost in the slow meandering storyline and by the end you really don’t care one way or another as long as it ends. And when it does end it isn’t a surprise because you’ll realise what’s going to happen ages before it does!

Brad Pitt does well but the pace of the movie is such that I can’t say anyone particularly ‘shines’ in the film. For 99% of the movie he remains slick, quaffed and with a tense jaw-line which sits at odds with everything around him. When any action does fire-up the ‘good guys’ dispatch the baddies like we’re watching an early Rambo film, suddenly they’re the best marksmen on the planet and walk away without a scratch or hair out of place.

It’s this oddness that got me really. Here we are in the middle of the war and yet everything was quite nice and clean and people’s suits were all lovely and pressed and shiny. Even when you briefly see a shop that’s been blown up it appears it was the cleanest bomb that ever went off.

Some of you will, no doubt, really like this film. At its heart is a love story that asks how far you’d go, what would you do for the one you love? It just asks it in such a slow and meandering way that the answer has to be; not take her to see this film.

From Back to the Future to The Polar Express, it's fair to say that Director Robert Zemeckis has quite a varied repertoire

25th November 2016

Robert Zemeckis

Steven Knight

Running Time:
2h 4min


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