War drama Allied could be so much better

War drama Allied could be so much better

The love story at its heart, so tentative and authentic initially, has become soft and slightly spongy around the edges, in the manner of a movie romance.

Actress Marion Cotillard revelled in the costume fittings for her new spy thriller Allied because she was in awe of the 1940s-inspired outfits. "You get this time of looking at each other saying, 'OK, this is so weird".

The only moment with convincing chemistry is a sex scene between Max and Mariannethat takes place in a vehicle surrounded by a sandstorm.

Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) is a Canadian spy, assigned to the British and on a mission to thwart the Nazis.

Though sly deceptiveness and spirited probing fuels their initial affair, Marianne seems happy to leave behind the lies and pretense of pretending to be someone she is not...or does she? This unusual structure is also jarring when the couple completes their big mission roughly 30 minutes into the film and you are left wondering how the next hour and a half will be filled.

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Well, not ideal either. She also cautions him that romance is not an option. His accent is closer to a Québécois, so they will have to be careful. They are experts in deception, play-acting, second-guessing and assassination. "So I didn't take it personally because I had nothing to do with those rumors or situation". She may actually be...dun-dun-dun...a Nazi spy. They were rumored to have fallen in love during filming. And while we won't give away the direction the tale takes, know that the previews for the movie do not hide it by any stretch of the imagination. But even an unhappy ending comes with its own risks.

Working from a script by Steven Knight (Locke, Eastern Promises), Zemeckis has created a well-wrought cinematic throwback as he avoids contemporary thriller tropes. His writing efficient, the characters saying only what is needed, leaving the rest of what they need to communicate to facial expressions and body language.

Allied is out in theaters Wednesday (Nov. 23). Everything, including the actors' faces, is so heavily filtered that they could be mistaken for characters in "The Polar Express". Of course, the accusations of adultery are merely rumors, but it is hard to entirely push the real-life drama out of your head when you are watching the relationship between Pitt and Cotillard unfold on screen. He's flat in some scenes, but, to be fair, Max isn't the life-of-the-party type. It's largely standard psychological thriller stuff, though with The two have decent chemistry and the romance plot is effective, but perhaps the relationship after the unsafe parts needed just a little tweak upward to make the inevitable turning of the screws hurt even more.

As the Allied war effort gathers pace, Max is ushered into a covert meeting with his superior, Frank Heslop (Jared Harris), and a military intelligence official (Simon McBurney). It's a much more comfortable movie than that of "The Walk" in look and evokes that of a lot of the 90s work of Zemeckis and other comparable directors.

In a career that has made him a superstar, Brad Pitt has played a particularly broad range of roles - garnering Oscar nominations for some of his most unexpected: as an activist gone mad in Terry Gilliam's "Twelve Monkeys", a man who is aging in reverse in David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and colorful Oakland Athletics' general manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball".