My Rating: 7 out of 10
I don’t have very much to say about Allied. This isn’t to say that it was a bad movie, in fact it was very excited and kept me at the edge of my seat throughout. It is just a very straightforward film that is more focused on keeping the audience guessing than about conveying a message or exploring ideas. The filmmakers knew what kind of story they wanted to tell and did an excellent job of it.
Put simply, Allied is the story of a Canadian spy (Max Vatan played by Brad Pitt) who teams up with the French resistance fighter named Marianne Beausejour (played by Marion Cotillard) to kill a German ambassador in Morocco. After their mission is completed, Max asked Marianne to marry him and she returns to London with him. Within a year, a higher up in the intelligence community informs Max that he believes Marianne is a German spy and initiates an operation to uncover her. If she is proven to be an enemy, Max will have to kill her or be executed as her accomplice. Incredulous that his loving wife, mother of his child, and fellow spy could be an enemy in disguise, Max beings his own mission to get to the bottom of things.
I won’t say whether or not Marianne ends up being innocent or not since trying to figure it out is one of the biggest draws of the film, but I will say that the filmmakers presented the story in a way that made it almost impossible to figure out the truth. I went back and forth throughout the movie thinking that Marianne was definitely a German spy and definitely not a German spy. Unfortunately, the suspense factor, which was one of my favorite parts of the experience, was also my major issue with the film. This is because once you have seen the movie, the excitement of trying to figure out what will happen and what is going on in the background are no longer a surprise. Unlike some films that convey a strong message or manage to illicit powerful emotions again and again, the most visceral aspect of Allied is diminished after the first viewing. With this said, I think it would be interesting to rewatch the film and see if I pick up on anything that I might not have noticed the first time around.
Still, I can’t stress enough how well crafted this film is and how much it stays true to its purpose. Even during scenes not involving the main plot line, such as at the beginning section leading up to the assassination of the German ambassador in Casablanca, the tension is consistently high without being overbearing. The filmmakers know exactly how to use their craft to pull you in whatever emotional direction they want. While Allied doesn’t have a strong subtext, it does say a lot about love and how, despite the jobs people have, we are all still people in the end. One of the favorite parts was at the beginning when Marianne is teaching Max how to fool the Germans in Casablanca, who are constantly watching the two of them. During these early scenes, we get to understand a bit more about the nitty-gritty of World War II era spy work, while also getting an understanding of who the two characters are as people.
Allied is a film that will interest a wider audience than other World War II movies since it balances several genres, including romance, spy, thriller, action, and drama. Yet with its wide variety of elements, Allied manages to keep everything together using tension and the personalities of its characters. Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard also do a great job of becoming their specific characters. It should also be noted that the film did a great job of making me feel as though I was in the era, which helped me to understand the characters even more. Whether you decide to see the film in theatres or wait to see it on your television/other media device won’t really affect your experience much since the excitement comes less from the action than the mystery and suspense.