Allied :: Might Just Have Managed Mediocrity If It Weren’t For Brad…

Review contains spoilers. Huge ones. But it doesn't matter. You do not want to see this film.

Allied is a pretty good story and could have been a great film, instead of a load of old rubbish, which is what it is.

Here are the things I liked about it:

* Marion Cotillard is really good.

Cineville - Allied

Here are the things I didn't like about it:

* Brad Pitt's general lack of charisma. One can't help feel he would have made a terrible spy.

* Brad Pitt's face. As he's getting older, his face is filling out more and his ability to use it to express emotions — or, if you will, to act — is becoming more limited. In this film, he seems very wooden, and also rather hammy. As in literally, he looks like a giant ham.

* Brad Pitt's French accent. In the film, Marion, his partner in espionage, as she is at that point, tells Brad that he needs to work on his Parisienne accent. She says he speaks French with a Québécois accent. It isn't true. He speaks French with an American accent. In fact, his French accent is not a million miles away — in terms of general quality — from his deliberately appalling Italian accent in Inglorious Basterds. Especially when he says, "Pas vraiment."

* The relationship between Max and Marianne (Pitt and Cotillard) is never less than utterly unconvincing. In a recent interview with Simon Mayo, director Robert Zemeckis blathers at length about the chemistry between the two actors, and there's not even a scintilla of truth in what he says...

* Creaky, cheesy, unreal dialogue.

* The baby in the Blitz scene - should have been great. Wasn't. (But Cotillard was good.) Same as the sex-in-a-sandstorm scene. Good on paper. Dull on film.

* The fact that every single thing in this film feels neither real enough nor sufficiently fake.

Oh, and two more things I liked about it:

* Simon McBurney.

* The fact that Marianne shot herself at the end of the film. Not only was it the only thing that really worked dramatically, but it was a nice opportunity for everyone in the cinema to smile wryly and think, Yep. That's exactly how I feel, love. 

Cineville - Allied


Cineville - Allied


The Viewing

It's rare I go to see the same film twice in one day, but so it was with Allied. I'm writing this at the 16:15 showing but I was also here for the 13:50 showing. I hadn't banked on the long-queue-and-lone-till situation at the first showing though, and I'd left it too late and had cut it too fine and even if it was as bad a film as most people said it was, it still deserved the respect of seeing the whole thing. You can't miss the first few minutes. You just can't. It's like starting a novel from page 20. It's unthinkable. And what if they were the best minutes?

So, naturally, I was mildly tense at the back of the queue when a young, slightly stiff Dutchman sort of sashayed awkwardly into the queue, ahead of me. As well as dumfounded, I was also instantly engruffened, but I swallowed it down, mostly because on examining the young man, I noticed that he also appeared rather tense.

He was moving back and forth, micro-moving, fizzing with that weird energy that comes from being in a tense situation and not knowing quite what to do about it. I guessed he was late for a film too. Then suddenly, he stepped out of the queue and to one side - in my memory he has become a combination of John Cazale and Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon; he certainly had something of their peculiar awkwardness. Rather than pull out a gun though, he took out his Cinecard and held it above his head.

With the card in his hand, and his hand in the air, he spoke in Dutch, saying something along the lines of, "Would anyone mind if I went to the front of the queue? My film of choice is imminent and I have a Cineville card so this will only take a second." At which point, in a response that seemed almost choreographed, like something out of La La Land, at least six or seven people - out of a queue comprised of at most 13 or 14 - all raised their own Cinecards and pointed out that they were in the same boat.

"Oh," said the young man, physically crestfallen if not noticeably embarrassed. Then one of the women in a pair of couples in their 40s and 50s must have felt sorry for him and offered him the place in front of them. At which point, I shook my head, cursed under my breath and stormed out of the cinema.

I exaggerate slightly. I did not storm. But I was miffed, for sure. Partly jealousy of his manoeuvre, partly irritation, partly the tension of already being late and an overriding sense of Fuck it. I need to buy some toilet roll and Fisherman's Friends anyway.

So I did that and came back later. And at the 16:15 showing, I had time to spare, so I also got to enjoy some new trailers for 2017...

Fences looks sufficiently tear-jerky, if a little melodramatic.

Loving looks absolutely heartbreaking.

And Dunkirk looks spectacular, if a little warry.

Allied on the other hand — just so we're clear — is rubbish.

About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you’ll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

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