Allied is a beautifully shot, well-acted, old-school romantic espionage film. It’s also a very slow, plodding, and often tedious movie that spends an excruciatingly long two hours setting up an emotional payoff that’s hardly worth the runtime. It’s not a terrible film, but it is neither interesting nor entertaining enough to justify the investment.
Allied stars the luminous Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt, who is great when he’s playing kooky but an inert-place filler when he’s in Meet Joe Black mode, as he is here. Pitt plays Max Vatan, an intelligence officer in North Africa who is paired with a woman he’s never met, Cotillard’s Marianne Beauséjour, to pose as a married couple on a mission to assassinate a Nazi leader. The first hour of Allied is a slow-building relationship drama that sees these two strangers fall in love while planning the assassination. The second half of the film moves to London, where Vatan and Beauséjour marry in the midst of a German campaign against London. It’s in London where, if you haven’t fallen asleep already, Allied finally starts to get interesting, although to divulge any of the details would rob the film even of that.
It’s a well shot movie, there are a few stellar special effects, and it’s probably Robert Zemeckis’ best film since 2000’s Cast Away, but it’s curiously lifeless for a love story. The relationship between Pitt and Cotillard feels perfunctory, designed to serve the “twist” ending rather than operating on its own. There’s obviously some attempt here to capture the feel of Casablanca, but it lacks the emotional resonance to do so. The end is meant to deliver a huge emotional wallop, but by the time it arrives, it elicits more of a “huh” than anything else.
TL;DR: Allied is blah.