Set in the 40s, Robert Zemeckis’ “Allied” also feels like it could have been made then. There are obvious parallels that can be drawn between this film and Michael Curtiz’s classic “Casablanca”; it’s the early 40s and both are set in World War II Casablanca, but beyond that “Allied” channels a “Casablanca”-esque vibe in tone, style and charm.
Channelling that old-fashioned charm are Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, starring as a Canadian intelligence officer and a French resistance fighter, respectively. They team up in Casablanca, posing as husband and wife, on a mission to assassinate the German ambassador. While Cotillard’s character points out that “being good at this kind of work isn’t very beautiful”, both Pitt and Cotillard manage effortlessly to be both.
Fast-forward a few years and the pair have fallen in love, married and now have a baby daughter. They’re as happy as you could be in war-ravaged London. However when Pitt’s character Max is told his wife might be a German spy, “Allied” rolls out as a tense ‘is she or isn’t she?’ game of cat and mouse.
Worth adding is, unexpectedly, the presence of Lizzy Caplan in the film. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t show up in any of the trailers (at least, not the ones I saw) but she plays Max’s lesbian sister who is given a mere minute or two of screen time across the entire film. She’s an intriguing character in and of herself and Caplan is a supremely capable actress, so her small, unannounced role in the film was as surprising as it is somewhat puzzling. It feels very much as though her role was largely ditched in post or, conversely, added at the last minute. Regardless, I’d have love to have seen more of her.
Nonetheless “Allied” is a really enjoyable film that should satisfy most moviegoers. Some will appreciate the film’s throwback to the old-style gangster flicks of the 20th century, while others will take to the stunning costumes and sets. There’s plenty of gunfire for you action buffs, there are Nazis and war-time raids to keep the history nerds happy, and it’s a love story at heart for all you hopeless romantics. “Allied” won’t go down as an all-time great like “Casablanca”, but it certainly belongs on your ‘must-see’ list this summer (or winter, for you lovely readers on the other side of the world).