Allied - Beautifully filmed, but lacks heart - 2.5 stars

'I do not fake my emotions, that is why I am so convincing.'

Walking into the cinema...
This looks like a winning combination, but will the film be able to survive all the media surrounding the lead actors personal lives?  

Russelling Reviews: 
2.5 stars

           In North Africa during World War II, the atmosphere was turbulent and nothing was certain for the life of undercover operatives. Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard) are thrown together for a mission that would mean that they would need to trust one another implicitly as husband and wife, despite never meeting prior to their assignment in Morocco. Through the intense pressure of the operation and the emotions that come from spending time together in close quarters, they fall in love. After the frenzied stint in Africa, the couple decide to get married and work their way through the international system of getting Marianne into England from the field. After getting things processed through this immigration gauntlet, they commence their lives together with Max working for British intelligence and Marianne fulfilling her role as wife and mother to their beautiful daughter, Anna. The former operatives live a euphoric life together until Marianne’s loyalty to the wartime effort is questioned. Max must investigate the validity of the charges laid against his wife before the military is able to confirm if she has participated in treason. 
        Acclaimed director Robert Zemeckis sets the stage for an adventure that is reminiscent of the golden era of cinema. The cinematography and the wardrobe provide the narrative vehicle that will transport audiences back to the era of Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon. The acting team of Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard on the surface  are a well chosen combination to move this story along. All the key components are in place for this production to deliver a box office winner, but somewhere along the way to cinemas the tires come off and cause things to breakdown.
         Zemeckis was meticulous in the detail of the wardrobe and capturing the atmosphere of North Africa and London during World War II. Every element from the vehicles and the feeling of despair shows his ability to effectively direct. Where things go wrong with Allied can be found in the scripting and the performances from the lead actors. Wartime dramas do allow for some license for believability, but this script takes things to a new extreme. The relative ease of the agents escape from North Africa, the immediacy of their love for one another, the simplicity of travel between England and Europe during the World War, the over the top hospital scene during Anna's birth and the violent conclusion make it difficult to accept the films message. The script issues are accentuated by the lack of chemistry between Pitt and Cotillard. These accomplished actors who have proven to portray sensuality and relational tensions with ease in past projects fail to light the spark needed in their on-screen relationship. Pitt may look great in the period clothing, but he seems to be going through the motions  and provides little passion. What is promised is a beautiful love story, but like a mannequin, there is no heart under the wardrobe. For what is promised, the overall experience is less than satisfying and becomes a wasted opportunity for Zemeckis and all involved.   

REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film? 

Throughout human history, the label of traitor is something that no one wants to bear. Yet, people still choose to betray relationships, countries and even God for any multitude of reasons. From Adam to Judas, betrayal is seen throughout the Bible, too. How does God respond to those who betray him? He may surprise you with the judgement and the love that is offered to those who betray him.

Passages on treason: Genesis 3, Luke 6:27-38, John 3:16, Hebrews 9:28

Trailer for the film

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews 
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