Allied offers a bit of everything. It offers espionage, a love story, war action, and betrayal. It’s a movie that could easily have been made in 1940s Hollywood following the war.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay written by Steven Knight, the World War 2 drama stars Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan, and Matthew Goode.
Part of the movie’s opening 20 minutes or so is heavy with subtitles. I won’t lie that it put me to sleep. The rest of the film is fine and I was able to stay awake without issue.
Inspired by a true story that Knight once heard while working in Texas, Allied tells the story of Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan (Pitt). In 1942, he’s stationed in North Africa, where he is on assignment for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) to take out the German ambassador, and it is there in which he meets Marianne Beauséjour (Cotillard), a French Resistance fighter. It’s not until after they are reunited back in England in which he finds out that there’s more there than meets the eye.
Over a year after they return to England, Vatan is summoned to an office, where he is asked to bait his wife into a trap as they think she is a spy for Germany. Vatan doesn’t believe this but after doing his own investigation, it’s true. She’s not the real Marianne Beauséjour. She stole her identity.
While the names have been changed, the basis of the story is alleged to be true: a Canadian spy and French resistance fighter fell in love and got married. Because their names have been changed, the movie doesn’t have to get all the historical details true. This isn’t a Pearl Harbor or D-Day, where we have a lot of known factual information about what happened on those days and the days that followed.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen an epic wartime thriller and grand, tragic love story like this,” producer Graham King says of Allied. “It’s the kind of rich storytelling on an ambitious scale we rarely experience anymore and it’s also very relevant to today’s world. It’s about what war and divisions can do to the beauty of love.”
King is absolutely correct. We don’t experience these kind of movies anymore. Had this been made in the 1940s, Pitt could have easily been replaced by Clark Gable or Humphrey Bogart.
Distributed by Paramount Pictures, Allied opened in theaters on November 23, 2016.