Robert Zemeckis has directed some legendary movies in the past, from Forrest Gump to Cast Away. This time around, he’s brought Allied to the big screen, a story set in the 1940s about a married couple of spies, whose relationship gets in danger after one of them is suspected to be a double-dealer that secretly works for the Nazis. Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard star this romantic thriller that has had my interest since the first trailers. Has it lived up to the expectations, though? Let’s find out.
The story being told on screen is very engaging. The doubt, the suspense, the duplicity… All those elements usually work great in storytelling, and this film is no exception. It has a lot of potential to be turned into a great movie, indeed.
Brad Pitt is one of the issues of Allied. Not because he did a bad job, but because he offered a performance that doesn’t go beyond correct. We know that Pitt is an amazing actor, there are many movies that evidence that fact: his portrayal of Pikey was outstanding in Snatch, he did an amazing job in Burn After Reading… He has delivered some amazing performances throughout his career, without a doubt. However, many times, he is limited to being Brad Pitt playing himself. Unfortunately, Allies falls in the latter category. His character seems to be dull most of the times, just because his personality isn’t properly displayed by the actor.
Luckily for us, Marion Cotillard does a great job, as always, and saves the day. In fact, her performance is so pure and effective, that she is able to carry all the emotional weight of the movie on her shoulders. A great portrayal, indeed.
Nevertheless, her acting can’t overcome the gigantic lack of chemistry between both actors. The whole first hour of the film tells the love story their characters live, yet every hug and every kiss feel absolutely fake. The scenes in which the love interests are first developed look mechanical, lack soul, and none of the actors achieve to convey the passion they supposedly feel for each other.
Pacing in this film is a sluggish mess. It is extremely slow most of the time, and it is flooded with useless moments that add nothing to the overall experience. To try to compensate this rhythm (or lack thereof), Zemeckis throws in action scenes every now and then, and all of them feel completely out of place. Don’t get me wrong, those action-packed moments are wonderfully made, better than most scenes in action flicks nowadays, but there is no cohesiveness or coherence between them and the main story-line, the tones are just too different. Taking into account most of those shots were featured in the trailers, it is no surprise that many people expected this movie to be fast-paced and thrilling, only to be disappointed with quite the opposite.
The script is incredibly dull too, as it lacks punch and creativity (especially during the third act) and only shines in a few moments throughout the two hour run-time. It tries to celebrate classic films all the time, Casablanca being the most obvious one, and it forgets about having its own essence. This is particularly surprising taking into account the screenplay is signed by Steven Knight, the same writer that achieved to be absolutely engaging with the highly constrained Locke, only a couple of years ago.
All in all, Allied does have a great idea, even if the outcome turns out to be miles away from reaching its full potential. It lacks momentum, personality, heart and soul, and, unfortunately, not even a perfect Cotillard can overcome those huge issues. 4/10