Allied Review - Robert Zemeckis Triumphs in this WW II Spy Drama

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Allied, from Paramount Pictures, Imagemovers, GK Films and HuaHua Media, brings to the screen the story of two spies brought together during the rise of the resistance in Europe, an arranged marriage, of love, war, betrayal, surrender and forgiveness.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Allied stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as Max Vatan and Marianne Beausejour a British Intelligence Officer and a French Resistance Fighter. Allied also stars Vincent Ebrahim, Marion Bailey, Lizzy Caplan, Charlotte Hope, Jared Harris, August Diehl, Matthew Goode and Simon McBurney.

Allied opens with Max Vatan, played by Brad Pitt, parachuting into the North African desert outside Morocco, surrounded by the vast nothingness of the Sahara, we are reminded of his singular mission. In the distance a vehicle approaches. Unsure, Vatan has one hand on his sidearm.

The car pulls around and as neither the driver, played by Vincent Ebrahim, nor Vatan attempt to assassinate the other it appears as if this non-descript, weathered, older chauffeur is his point man.

On the way to the drop, Vatan is introduced to his local contact. She, as he slips the provided gold band on his finger, will also be his wife. Tonight they will be reunited after a long absence and “will be wearing a purple dress,” the driver said. “Look for the Hummingbird.”

Vatan arrives in Casablanca, at the very public Café Morocco, where Marianne, his wife, played by French actress Marion Cotillard, is holding court with other French ex-patriots enjoying cocktails, laughing, aware, and blind by choice, when he enters and sees the Hummingbird on a silk kimono and a woman in a purple dress.

She turns, rushes to his arms and in perfect French she whispers love words loudly enough for her table of friends to be impressed and introduces all to her mysterious husband to which the others act surprised and joke that he actually does exists. To everyone, now without question they are a couple. In French, they speak of love and longings, and how the evening can wait no longer for the two.

As they return to her apartment, she begins to critique him on his French, his ways of a husband, what a man would do with the women he adores, how a husband loves his wife in Morocco.  

Vatan, is on assignment and with a mission in front of him is solely focused and Marianne, a French resistance fighter, is highly spoken of by others who survived near death by her hand and expertise. The two are assigned to stop the advancement of Hitler’s Nazi regime, in French Morocco, as part of the rise of the resistance.

Arriving days before the evening dinner party for the German Ambassador, a by invitation only and the discretion of the attaché, who surely wouldn’t withhold the invitation for the mysterious husband. As Marianne had already received her invitation and she and Vatan had to meet with the German Diplomat Hobar, played by August Diehl, to arrange his invitation also.

Vatan plays the importance of gaining the invite down of course and soon the two walk out with his invitation and the plan is in place.

When the night of the party arrives the two, already deeply in love, are prepared to complete the assignment and part ways when Vatan proposes marriage and a new life in London. As the night is yet to unfold the next chapter can’t even be imagined.

And this is where the film explodes.

I truly enjoyed Allied. There are so many elements and aspects to the film which make it a strong contender for one of the 2016’s Best Pictures.

Bob Zemeckis direct this World War II drama, love story and his mastery, of the screen, is well known and almost redundant to mention. His past achievements are too numerous to list. I want to add that my fan feelings toward Mr. Zemeckis, notwithstanding, did not sway my opinion of this film.

Brad Pitt, has grown into a talent. He has matured as an actor from his boy toy early roles. Throughout the film I found his defining looks, almost subdued, an easily bypassed look, although the two made a lovely couple, and I wondered if that was somehow manipulated by the costumes, make-up and the film techniques. As a spy, any telltale sign or stand out features would be to his determent. Whatever external elements, this film changes the game for him and his on-screen perception. 

Marion Cotillard, whom I had not seen before, holds her own and can always cast the doubt as to where her loyalties really and genuinely lie.  She becomes either sympathetic and a casualty of war or cunning and finally caught.

I thought the representation of Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, in London was played well and a peek into the psyche of the British Intelligence Officers, who stepped lightly over the sidewalk of glass shards without breaking stride, and not even mentioned at the morning Intelligent brief.

Allied unfolds, layer by layer, and with each element the audience is left to wonder where the truth lies. The past may be out of sight but for these two it is always present and just when it seems as if enough time and distance had been placed between them and Casablanca, the past rears its vengeful spirit and life takes another turn.

Allied is enthralling. Stunning, with breathtaking cinematography, wide sweeping shots of the desert, beautiful mountains of golden sand dunes, powerful recreations of the Blitzkrieg, soaking soppy rains of London. The quiet, hushed, earth tones used are alluring and inviting. The attention to each detail is impressive and notable.

A solid, award winning story, Allied is compelling. More than a love story of war passions between two people, Allied effectively presents the love of country and even more than a devotion of lovers the love of country is deeper as freedom is tested and all things about the Motherland is challenged with the encroaching tide of fascism and Hitler’s Nazi regime, the people, buoyed by their leadership and love of country were tireless in the fight.

Allied is gripping, captivating, and absorbing! A top ten of 2016! It is not to be missed. And I do expect Allied to be a around during awards season.

Allied is playing at theaters everywhere. Check local listings.

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