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Film review: Allied

A lifeless love story set during World War II and possibly Brad Pitt’s worst ever performance

Brad Pitt (right) and Marion Cotillard in a still from ‘Allied’.
Brad Pitt (right) and Marion Cotillard in a still from ‘Allied’. (Brad Pitt (right) and Marion Cotillard in a still from ‘Allied’.)

Expectations are bound to be high from the director of films such as Back to The Future, Forrest Gump, Cast Away and The Walk. But romantic war drama Allied is so lifeless it’s hard to believe it’s been helmed by the same Robert Zemeckis. Based on a script by Stephen Knight, and set in the World War II era, this is the love story of a Canadian intelligence officer working with the British allies and his romance with a French resistance fighter with a deep secret.

Brad Pitt (looking rather puffy and patchy), plays Max Vatan who meets the seductive Marianne Beausejour, played by Marion Cotillard, during a mission to Casablanca, Morocco. Their cover during the mission is to pose as a married couple, a role play they take rather too seriously. The execution and depiction of the mission is so lame you almost wish for Tarantino-style symphony would start playing in the background as bullets spray around.

Once the mission is complete, Vatan proposes to Beausejour and they live a dreamy life in London. Even as London is being bombed in the Blitz, Vatan goes about his business till one day he is delivered a life-altering piece of news. This revelation should have jolted us out of the near-catatonic state the tedious and sluggish story had lulled us into. But even this is shabbily handled, no less because of Pitt’s surprisingly poor performance. Had the romance felt real, we might have given a damn about the predicament Vatan faced but there is absolute absence of vibes between Cotillard and Pitt.

A climactic race-against-time and burst of sleuthing inject a modicum of energy into what is, essentially, a nostalgic costume drama of pretty tableaus. The Nazis have never been less threatening or menacing in a film that is taking itself rather seriously; and the War never seemed less of a problem as party guests stand in the backyard and watch a nighttime air raid like they are watching fireworks on New Year’s Day.

Cotillard turns it up, but opposite Pitt’s zombie-stance, her act feels loud. What happened to the once glorious Pitt? He doesn’t even rock a military uniform.

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