ALLIED: There are two halves to this wartime adventure that attempts to evoke the romanticism of CASABLANCA (1942). The first hour sets up a love affair between a Canadian pilot (Brad Pitt) and an attractive French resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard) who fall for each other while assassinating Nazi dignitaries. All that would be well and good except for the absence of any real chemistry between the two main characters despite an unintentionally funny lovemaking session shared during a “cheesey” looking sandstorm. This taints the second portion of the film when a pair of intelligence officers (Jared Harris, Simon McBurney) inform Pitt (See CLOSING CREDITS.) that his former spying partner, who’s now his wife and mother to their child, might be a German double agent. The answer to the question of whether she is or isn’t is rather obvious and spoils what could have been an intriguing storyline where a couple of spies would now have to spy on each other. What’s more, the method used to try and expose her real identity comes across as so simplistic that I couldn’t help but think that a really professional “mole” would have been able to see right through it. That’s not to say that this is an entirely bad movie. The Nazi ambush and everything leading up to it is well-paced by director Robert Zemeckis (FORREST GUMP). There are a few potentially interesting supporting characters but they’re never fully developed as they should have been. For all of the A-list talent utilized for this production, the finished product is a real disappointment that makes its two stars look positively sexless. You’re better off watching the classic Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman film this movie desperately wants to be but isn’t.
CRITIC’S GRADE: C
CLOSING CREDITS: Here are some much better movies starring Brad Pitt – THELMA AND LOUISE (1991), A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT (1992), TRUE ROMANCE (1993), SE7EN (1995), 12 MONKEYS (1995)*, CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND (2002), MR. & MRS. SMITH (2005), BABEL (2006), THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (2008)**, MONEYBALL (2011)**, 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013)***, FURY (2014), THE BIG SHORT (2015)****
*Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor
**Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor
***Academy Award Winner as Producer for Best Picture
****Academy Award Nominee as Producer for Best Picture