There’s no doubt director Robert Zemeckis has left his mark on Hollywood with films like Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump. The director has delivered classics, but lately his star has faded. Zemeckis spent a good part of the 2000s trying to perfect his motion capture techniques with his film company ImageMovers, but the business couldn’t recover after Mars Needs Moms bombed big time and James Cameron mastering the motion capture technique in Avatar. Since the Oscar nominated Flight in 2012, Zemeckis decided to only a direct one film (2015’s The Walk) and that couldn’t find an audience despite receiving positive reviews.
Now the Cast Away director is pulling out the big guns enlisting Brad Pitt to lead his new WWII spy drama Allied. The film focuses on two spies who fall in love only to have the world turned upside down when certain classified information is revealed. Marion Cotillard plays Marianne, a sexy French spy who works with Pitt’s Wing Commander Max Vatan on a secret mission in French Morocco. The fake relationship becomes real and the two decided to make their work aliases a reality. All seems well until secrets from the past come to light, which threatens their family and even the Allied Forces in the War.
Robert Zemeckis creates a beautiful WWII atmosphere in Allied full of Moroccan moonlight, sandstorms and bombs falling from the air during the infamous London Blitz. Pitt and Cotillard look glamorous in their early 1940s fashion as they walk the streets of Casablanca or relax on a grassy knoll outside of London. Zemeckis shows he can still create an environment that captures a particular time and place in our history. The issue is the gorgeous cinematography, costume, set and art design are the only positives in Allied.
The major problem in Allied is the action taking place in these varied locales is very flat. For one thing, nothing happens for the first twenty-five minutes as the two spies get to know their alter egos. Then immediately after we get a taste of bullet fire, the movie grinds to halt again. This cycle repeats itself throughout Allied keeping the audience waiting for something else exciting to happen that never does.
The pace of Allied is one big tease that never fulfills the spy thriller expectations advertised in its marketing campaign. The lack of chemistry on-screen between Pitt and Cotillard doesn’t help much either preventing viewers from caring what happens to these two leading up to Allied‘s lackluster ending. People may not have showed up to see The Walk, but at least that film had a major moment that kept you on the edge of your seat. There’s nothing that will have exhilarated in Allied leading people to wonder if the once innovative Robert Zemeckis has lost his connection with today’s movie going audience.
Overall, I give Allied 2.25 out of 4 stars.
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell