Leaving aside the tabloids and the parallel narrative that has preceded the release of the film in the form of gossip, there is great anticipation surrounding Allied also due to the undisputed appeal of Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard and the idea of their partnering up in a romantic drama, which is in itself enough to intrigue many people.
The story, set during World War II, has all the potential for box-office success: espionage, passion, betrayal and attractive locations. Max Vatan is an intelligence agent asked to execute a mission with French resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour. Unsurprisingly, they fall in love, but their commitment to their work threatens to tear them apart.
Allied is as visually captivating as one would expect. There are some beautiful, if idealised, recreations of 1940s London and Casablanca. This is a gripping film that wants to impress and seduce, and its colourful, vibrant scenes are eye-catching in the style of the recent James Bond films – although not as thrilling in terms of action.
Pitt and Cotillard do not disappoint and the chemistry is spot-on, but the roles are not the most challenging. The characters feel distant from the audience and aren’t drawn out finely enough for the twist in the story to have as great an impact as it could.
The development of events is somewhat jerky, and beneath all the dazzle the story itself seems scattered. There are many instances of isolated and unnecessary details that do not advance the narrative in any way nor seem to serve any purpose other than embellishment.
It is indeed a case of style over substance, but style does abound thanks to director Robert Zemeckis and British screenwriter Steven Knight: many frames in this film seem like adverts in a lifestyle magazine, from the elegance and charm of the two leads to the magnificent costumes of the era. The desire to make Allied an event-movie is very clear, but the film only justifies the hype to a limited degree. It is, however, an entertaining viewing that ticks all the blockbuster boxes.
Allied is released nationwide on 25th November 2016.
Watch the trailer for Allied here: