Allied – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

alliedAllied – 3/5 – Spy films are the kind that thrill you with twist and turns that you may not expect.  When it comes to these thrillers, there is always a ‘motive’ of sorts to be found in either the main character or villain.  There are times that a spy film might combine with a different kind of tale entirely.  This is when you get a fusion of other genres (comedy, drama, etc.) to help mold something slightly original.  Allied is a film based in the heart of romantic tale that swirls around the conspiracy/espionage elements found in spy thrillers.  Even for the endearing cast and some of the wholesome moments, Allied never hits its mark in being something extraordinary.  No matter the flaws, there’s still some thrills to be found in this spy film.

Premise: An Intelligence office encounters a French résistance officer in North Africa.  As these two become more than partners; their relationship gets tested by the pressures of war.  With all on the line, will the truth be one the dissolve the lovers into former entities?

At the heart of the films are two main characters.  They are:

Brad Pitt as Max Vatan

Marion Cotillard as Marianne Beausejour

These two do an amazing job in creating characters that are deep and endearing.  Being a central focus of this film; it helps to have authentic creations within the typical aspects that they are built on.  With both characters being spy agents, it helps to see something intriguing in each of them.  Pitt’s Max Vatan is a staunch, stern and focused individuals.  He is one that aims to get the job done as pristine as possible.  Cotillard’s Marianne Beausejour is very suave and fluid in her interactive display as an agent.  She unfolds as the character she ‘has’ to play to get the job done; exuding deeper complexities to ‘wow’ her way towards the goal.  The two opposites personalities help build up a real relationship, adding to the dynamic of the endearing love to come.  This twist that evolves from their relationship helps alleviate some of the cliché aspects, providing something worth gripping to for the audience.  With the rest of the cast, you can look them up at the film’s IMDb page.  In short, there isn’t much to explain about the rest of the actors/actresses in the film.  They only do just enough to help add some dynamic detail to the evolving plot.  Beyond this, they can be considering your common one-dimensional spy characters.

The direction can be explained as two halves of one tale.  I say this because the film feels like two different stories rolled into a ‘total’ cinematic experience.  What you have (first) is an overall outline of your typical spy thriller.  In that general outline, you have:

  1. Predictable agents to complete a mission
  2. An evolving/intricate motive
  3. The ‘race against time’ to find the truth
  4. A sacrificial ‘ominous’ like ending

The direction then takes these generalities and spins it into two halves.  The first half of the film focuses on the common introduction of the two main players (Max and Marianne), their purpose and ultimate mission objective.  While this general ‘spy thriller’ focus occurs, we get the ‘budding’ of something romantic between the two.  This eventually falls away in the first half climax; which brings the ‘mission’ objective to a close.  After this, there is a kind of ‘intermission’ of sorts, which helps add exposition elements of these two becoming lovers.  After this, the film moves into a second half that leads into a new direction.  It deepens the ‘espionage mode’ with a mixture of ‘truth and consequence’.  This double method of merging two distinct genres (Spy thriller and Romance) helps add another dynamic that was never led to be believed (in the first half). This helps evolve the story in an endearing tale for one character (Max) to find the truth about his ‘maybe’ double agent wife (Marianne).  The investigation helps breathe a swiftness of a pace, helping alleviate some of the generic elements that are left to the convenient ‘A leads to B’ plot progression.  Once you hit the climax of this second half (and the film as a whole), the telegraphing of the ‘sacrificial ‘ending is very underwhelming.  This leaves you with a feeling that there could have been more to prop up the mixing of the spy and romantic elements.  Once the epilogue rolls, it is a matter of if it was worth watching because it feels like there was something more to be found.

The visuals are a mix of some good and bad elements.  The good can be found in the use of London (in the second half) and the action set pieces that happen (on occasion) in the film.  These two helps gravitate the audience to feeling the rush of the espionage genre, adding the ‘will they/won’t they’ feeling to the overall film’s experience.  Outside of this, the rest of the cinematography is downright mind cringing.  A lot of the bigger set pieces that happen in the desert, airfield or in Casablanca are so unrealistic.  The CGI bleeds through, as you can clearly see the green screen that is used for the background.  The music is pretty much non-existent.

Allied is a spy film that had a mixture of some good acting and revising of plot elements; but there are a lot that was left to the common and predictable side.  In the end, this is an average experience.  If you’re a fan of either actor/actress or like spy films, there is something to be found here.  Otherwise, this is left to seeing at a matinee.

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