Originally Published on Salty Popcorn - You Can Find Several Other Reviews By Jack Dignan Here As Well
We open in Casablanca in 1942, the war brewing all throughout the globe. A charming, handsome young man, Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), has been sent to this wondrous little town to be someone he’s not. He’s undercover, given a temporary name and identity, as well as a temporary wife. Her name is Marianne Beausejou (Marion Cotillard), and as she states in the film, she’s “very good at pretending.” The two work together to complete a job, but in the process, they do the one thing everyone in their line of work knows they should never do. They fall in love. When the job’s done, they wed and move in together in Max’s hometown of London, the war sill going on.
ALLIED is a tense and emotional thriller that works. It gets you attached to these characters, all before trying to change your perspective on each and every single one of them. Are they really who they say they are? Is this all a game? Is it real? Who’s telling the truth here? They’re just a few of the questions that will be running through your head as you watch the mystery unfold. The film does an excellent job at setting up the bond between Max and Marianna, and the thought of her potentially being a spy is almost heartbreaking. I found myself begging for that situation not to go down.
Unfortunately, it does take a while to get to the film’s juiciest moments. While a few scenes drag here and there, most of the scenes involving Max’s investigation are completely gripping. However, this plot isn’t introduced as soon as one would think. The initial set up in Casablanca takes about forty five minutes to complete, and after that, it’s another ten to fifteen minutes until Max is actually called down into the underground meeting. The Casablanca scenes are interesting to a degree, but the pacing is dreadful, making it a much longer experience than it should’ve been. The final film clocks in at 124mins, putting it just over two hours. In my opinion, ALLIED could’ve been of a much higher quality if it were a 90min thriller. It could’ve been a tightly plotted, twist-filled rollercoaster that’s brisk and to the point. Lose the fat, so to say.
As for Cotillard, this woman is amazing. Simply amazing. I honestly believe she can turn any script into an Oscar worthy performance. She’s so good here, which is to be expected. Her character has a lot going on, whether it’s her troubled and deep backstory or just the way she’s got to handle everything with her job. Cotillard takes on every situation with grace and brilliance, and her character was without a double the most interesting character in this entire movie.
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