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Spies In Love

Saturday, January 07, 2017
By Deepa Gahlot

Allied
Director:
Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard and others
Rating: * * *

There’s such a glut of World War II dramas, that to be a clutter-breaker, a film has to be really special. Robert Zemeckis’s Allied was in the news for the wrong reasons (the alleged romance between the lead pair), but this Casablanca wannabe just never touches the heart—and the main culprit, ironically, is the lack of chemistry between Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.

Allied is a straight-up espionage drama with a love story at the core. Canadian special operative Max (Pitt) and Marianne (Cotillard) who is with the French Resistance, have to pose as a married couple in a plot to assassinate a German ambassador in Morocco. In the process of working in this risky mission, they fall in love, get married and move to London.

After they settle down happily and become parents, Max is told by British intelligence officials that Marianne is a German spy. It’s the kind of situation that could turn a man paranoid and destroy a relationship. He has to test his wife’s loyalty and if the allegation of her being a double agent is true, he has to kill her himself.

The script shifts in tone from action to romance to heightened emotions, but it engages only in fits and starts, mainly because the suspense hinges on whether Marianne is a spy or not, and there can be only two possible outcomes. Marianne is seen as mysterious and evasive, so, the audience is meant to feel sorry for Max, who is caught in a moral bind.

Around them is all the cloak-and-dagger skullduggery that goes on at wartime, but the two attractive stars are always in focus and can’t help giving off glamorous vibes. Even though both give competent enough performances, the intensity is never heart-wrenching, the tension never killing, which could be because there have been so many wonderful WW II movies, that Allied aiming at that epic quality keeps falling short. Which is not to say it is dull or boring, it just does not have that unforgettable quality.

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