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Review: Allied – “Beautiful to watch”

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Allied is the latest dazzling blockbuster to come out of the Hollywood movie mill, featuring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in their much-talked about co-starring roles.

Allied tells the story of Max (Pitt), an intelligence officer during WW2 who meets the indomitable Marianne (Cotillard), a French Resistance fighter, while on assignment in Casablanca. Under the guise of a married French couple, the two work together to infiltrate the local Nazi regime, and assassinate one of the top dogs. Through the life-threatening circumstances in which they find themselves, the two are soon caught up in a whirlwind romance (which they come to realise in – surprise, surprise – an actual wind storm) and return to London to be married once their assignment is complete.

A couple of years, a marriage and a baby later, the war rages on in London. As well as the city being bombed almost nightly, Max’s whole world is blown apart when he is told by his superiors that Marianne is believed to be a German spy, feeding information from his office back to the enemy. Max is given direct orders which will either expose Marianne, or ascertain her innocence, all the while maintaining a normal outward attitude, and attempting to continue life as normal at home.

For the first part of this film set in Morocco, I was hugely underwhelmed by what I had expected to be a gripping film. Despite the strong cast, amazing graphics and lush-beyond-your-wildest dreams costumes and sets, I felt the film was almost making a mockery of the old-Hollywood film style. It was using every cliché in the book, and seemed to be mimicking the noir-style acting which simply doesn’t translate in 2016, delivering lines but not allowing audiences to believe them.

It was not until the second part I realised, this may have been the whole point. As Max’s becomes consumed with doubt, we find ourselves looking back, as he does, on their time in Casablanca and asking if it was all real… surely it was all too perfect?

This film keeps us guessing until the very end, along with Max, until the thrilling climax… is she or isn’t she? This film is beautiful to watch – from the glamourous world of a sand-swept Casablanca, to the comforting, homely surroundings of North London’s Hampstead. For Londoners, Allied paints a vivid picture of our city ravaged by war and reminds us of the danger of division between us and our nearest neighbours; something all-too relevant in a post-Brexit world.

The performances are good, but sadly not great. For a film where the connection between the two central characters is so key, the chemistry between Max and Marianne was somewhat lacking. Pitt’s attempt at sounding like a native Frenchman is certainly worth the watch – not easy feat for an American – yet it’s not a spot on his I-Talian as heard in Inglorious Basterds (nothing ever will be!).

Allied is definitely one to be seen on the big screen. More or less what you expect from a Hollywood blockbuster of this nature, Allied is entertaining, very well-made and enjoyable to watch, but not exactly multi-faceted. All round, a fun night out at the cinema.

3-out-of-5

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In cinemas 25 November 2016.

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