Allied is a romantic spy thriller set during the Second World War directed by Robert Zemeckis. It sees two spies, Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), who have fall in love on a mission to assassinate a Nazi official in Casablanca. The trailers really played up the thriller aspect of the film where British officials believe Marianne to be a German spy and lay a trap to test her.
I think this rather mis-sold the film, as that thriller aspect is really only present in the second half of the film. The only real connective tissue in the film is the relationship between Max and Marianne. The first half of Allied is about the beginning of their relationship whilst on an assassination mission. It’s really there to establish the relationship between the two, and both of their abilities as spies, especially Marianne’s to assimilate and fit in to a new environment.
The second half is centered around the 72 hours where Marianne is being tested, and a lot of Max’s attempts to uncover the truth himself. However the mystery element of the film never feels gripping enough. Similarly the romantic elements of the film don’t do enough to make the film great either. There are a lot of different genres going on, and its mash of war, thriller, and romance just doesn’t come together here.
Despite this both Pitt and Cotillard are good as the two central characters. Cotillard really shines as Marianne. She plays the whole range to perfection, from the comfortable front her character puts on, to the more calculating spy, to emotional focal point at the end of the film. Pitt on the other hand doesn’t really get to show any range until the second half of the film, where he visibly struggles under the stress of the investigation into his wife. He’s a rather bland character early on, and Pitt’s performance doesn’t do anything to make him more than that until the story gets back to England.
Despite the good central performances, there is little to elevate Allied above a mediocre romantic war thriller. Rather than excelling in any one of these genres the film just fits into all three fine. The trailers made it look like it could be a great thriller, but it just isn’t. Allied is a perfectly fine film, but nothing more.