Monday, December 12, 2016

Allied (2016)

Brad Pitt is back to killing stinking Nazis and there are many details about this movie I am honor-bound to conceal from you. It's a World War II movie about spies set in Casablanca, wishing very hard that it could be the movie Casablanca, which if you will recall had numerous false endings in the delicious pile-up at the end. So mum's the word bub. With director Robert Zemeckis running the show (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump), there was bound to be at least a little blast of the meta in Allied. Brad Pitt is Max Vatan, of Medicine Hat, Alberta, a special operations man for the British. Marion Cotillard is Marianne Beausejeur of Paris, a French Resistance fighter. The first half, set in yes French Moroccan Casablanca, is about their mission to assassinate a German ambassador. They fall in love, the mission is a spectacular success (maybe 15 or more visible Nazi kills), and they decide to get hitched in London. Ain't love grand? They have a baby—outdoors, actually, during a German bombing raid. Yes, of course it's overdone, but wait till you see the spectacle of the bombing planes, probing searchlights, giving birth, antiaircraft fire, and even a dirty Nazi plane brought right down to the ground. Huzzah! Next thing you know, Marianne is officially under suspicion by the British military of being a filthy German spy. Well, there's the central conflict for you, and now I must refrain from saying any more. I can tell you it's a pretty good show, tightly written, propulsive, and nearly always interesting. There's some flab around the end of the second third that could get it under two hours if they cared, maybe 20 or so uninteresting minutes. Pitt is solid with his middle-aged Robert Redford shtick which suits him fine. I haven't actually seen that much of Cotillard before but she's fine here too as a sultry dark and mysterious beautiful European woman. My favorite parts were in the first half in Casablanca. It was not at all like the city in the 1942 picture but much more naturally exotic and atmospheric, with strange sights and sounds and ways. The black, red, and white Nazi insignia never fails to fill me with dread and loathing and there's plenty of that here too. In fact, this movie is for anyone who enjoys seeing Nazis killed dead, not to mention an almost swell love story. Not bad.

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