**1/2 out of ****
There are a strange amount of strengths and weaknesses to Allied, a spy/romance thriller set during World War II. For the most part, it’s a good-looking melodrama with some interesting plot twists (avoid seeing the trailer) while on the other hand it’s missing some essential elements necessary to emotionally engage its audience.
Steven Knight’s screenplay tells an interesting story about a Canadian spy (Brad Pitt) working for British Intelligence, who is sent on a mission to meet a French spy (Marion Cotillard) in Morocco, where the two will pose as husband and wife while tasked in the assassination of a German Chancellor.
This section of the story is all you should know going into the film, while the plot that follows has a way of unfolding that is best left for the movie viewing experience. This is an intriguing drama with a lot of good talent involved. So why didn’t I love it?
While a director like Robert Zemeckis, a man responsible for some highlight movies of my life, brings a lot of spectacle to this film (including some excellently choreographed action segments), some of it is phony-looking and costs the film’s atmosphere a sense of realism in places where it is needed.
The other problem is sadly another talent I normally admire: Brad Pitt. With certain exceptions, Pitt mostly has a gift for playing somber and reserved characters. Having him play a spy makes sense, but a spy in a melodrama? Mr. Pitt isn’t up for the task. While the filmmakers are doing everything to convey this character’s emotions, Mr. Pitt isn’t doing the same job. For me, this void hurt an otherwise strong film.