Friday 6 January 2017

Allied ... Bombed into oblivion

A DESERT in World War 2 is supposed to remind viewers of the contours of a woman's body a la The English Patient.
   Then there's the opening setting in Casablanca, which pushes viewers towards Casablanca territory.
  Allied, however, is neither of the above films. The film wants to tug at our heartstrings, to feel the supposedly unbridled love between a handsome Canadian spy and a gorgeous French resistance fighter, but all it makes viewers feel is the incongruity permeating through director Robert Zemeckis's film.

   The first third of the film proceeds smoothly, with wing commander Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) pretending to be the husband of Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) in Casablanca.
   There are supposed to be sparks flying between these two gorgeous people, but Pitt is aloof and Cotillard makes a big deal about wearing a negligee on a rooftop. Pitt's character is supposed to speak French Canadian but it was hard to decipher his accent.
    Max is jokingly warned about relationships formed in the heat of war, but he persuades the lithe Marianne to follow him back to London and marry him.
   Marianne gives birth in the middle of a German airforce bombing. This is absurd. Talk about a scene that bombed.
   The first year after the daughter's birth is hunky dory. We then come to the crux of the film.
This hot and steamy scene was cut from Malaysian theatres.
  Max is told by his superiors that Marianne is possibly a spy and the authorities have to do something to confirm their suspicion. Max goes into a ditz and this is where the film falls apart.
  I can understand Zemeckis wanting to show how far a husband would go to prove his wife's innocence, but commandeering a small aircraft over the English Channel and enemy lines at night and then returning home at dawn and still look handsomely calm is something even Pitt can't do.
   How he did it without raising the alarm at the airbase is something that will baffle viewers.
  Max does a lot of crazy things over the weekend to determine his wife's true colours, and I can empathise with him feeling that his world has turned upside down. But the things he does to get to the bottom of the mystery invite ridicule.
   It also makes one wonder how Marianne could have got to where she was without inviting questions about herself.
  If she had been setting the stage for Max and her to perform their task at the beginning, wouldn't
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard look resplendent in this
divided loyalties/war romance flick.
the resistance have known about her identity and confirmed it before parachuting their handsome spy into dangerous territory?
  Viewers are kept on tenterhooks wondering if Marianne is a spy. I knew the answer immediately, and that took the fun out of watching the film.
   I was disappointed because the opening was promising but the film ends with a whimper and raises more questions about what had happened.
  For example, Marianne could have approached Max about the forces of evil surrounding her in the idyllic town. One wonders how an intelligence agent did not see through the veneer of superficiality.
   Pitt's then wife Angelina Jolie accused Cotillard of having an affair with her husband during the filming of Allied, but on the basis of the so-called screen romance, she made a mountain out of a molehill.

  2 out of 5 stars



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