Allied: Zemeckis’ Glossy, Old-Fashioned Romantic Thriller, Starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard

First statement: Longer review will be published later today.

Our grade: C+ (** out of *****)

Robert Zemeckis, still best known for his 1994 Oscar winning Forrest Gump, seems unable to find the proper material to express his considerable talents, shown in many films that combine his narrative skills and technical wizardry.

His latest big-budge feature, Allied, is based on a fabricated story that fails to excite his fertile imagination and/or to appeal to viewers emotionally, resulting in film that serves like a visually gorgeous department store window, populated by characters and actors that function like well-dressed (but frozen) mannequins.

An attempt to make a glossy, star-driven old-fashioned romantic thriller, Allied is an espionage film that’s not only set in 1940s, but could have also been made in that era.
A failed effort to make a Casablanca-like picture for our times, Allied is an artistic misfire, which further suffers from the miscasting of Brad Pitt (as a Canadian who speaks bad French), and lack of chemistry between him and his leading lady, the lovely French actress Marion Cotillard.


Oscar-winner Cotillard possibly renders the weakest performance of her otherwise glorious French and international career, though it is not her fault; she looks sexy and does her best to lend credibility to a story that’s utterly incredible.

Lesson 1: You can’t fake or recreate mechanically the romantic classicism of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman for our harsh and cynical times.


I doubt that younger spectators would be lured to see this frozen in time confection—unless they are hard core fans of Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.

Lesson 2: for a narrative that asses itself as a suspenseful thriller, Allied lacks any suspense, as the mystery at its center–Cotillard’s real identity–is predictable.

Lesson 3: The audience is always ahead of the characters and their actions, which is not a good sign for a thriller.

Then there is the schmaltzy and incoherent ending, in which Cotillard’s Marianne violates–and defies–all the strength, stamina, and other attributes of her persona that the movie is so careful to delineate in its first (and best) reel.

This is the second artistic flop in a row for Zemeckis, a follow up to the vastly disappointing The Walk, in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt was miscast.

It’s probably a coincidence that Gordon-Levitt (who played a French guy) also essayed–but failed at mimicking a French accent.