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46 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

Surprising

9/10
Author: Anna Tole from United States
24 November 2016

I had high hopes for this movie because of Robert Zemeckis, Brad Pitt, and Marion Cotillard. I definitely went into it prepared for a WWII movie, full of action and special effects. And to be clear, this movie certainly DOES have action and special effects (what Zemeckis film doesn't?), but it goes beyond that.

The actions scenes, when they do happen, are well choreographed and fun to watch. They also earn the movie it's rating, and are brutal but not overbearing. Marion and Brad are both convincing, proving to the audience that they are well- trained spies who don't hesitate to kill.

Something I found very interesting about this movie is that while it's not primarily a war film, it did provide a very interesting look at what life was like for people. This was a time when people partied like the world was ending. Drinks, drugs, sex, etc. But this was also a time when people sometimes watched planes get shot out of the sky. It's a fascinatingly personal way of portraying the war, and the people living through it.

The special effects are stunning, Zemeckis seamlessly blending reality and effects. Many scenes are simply breathtaking. It's puzzling how the movie manages to be both classic and modern.

As I mentioned though, this movie is more than just war and special effects. By the end, there are a few clear themes; putting what's best for those you love above your own needs, and trying your hardest to believe the best of/trust those closest to you. Even if it means you have to break some rules, or even put your own life on the line.

The ending, which some say is overly-sentimental, hit a chord that worked for me. It showed the lengths people go to to protect their family. However people complain about the Forest Gump ending, and that one makes me cry almost every time I see it. So if I'm in the minority here, I'm not at all surprised.

One last thing that I thought this movie did very well, was showing just how difficult it would truly be for spies to fall in love. For the first half of the movie, the two are basically brought together and drawn to each other because of their abilities. They live, supposedly, very similar lives. They are evenly matched. They fit together in every sense because of their mastery of espionage. And yet, once the twist comes along, that same mastery of espionage is what tears them apart. Marion's ability to lie, once a great asset, is now their greatest enemy. It's a wonderful way to weave the story together, and makes for some excellent tension as well as irony.

Overall, Allied is absolutely a mix. It has espionage, it has war, it has assassinations, it has parties, it has family, it has romantic/steamy (quite steamy, might I add) moments, it has costumes and scenery, it has a mystery to be solved, etc. And some of these things it does magnificently. Some of these things it does just well-enough. But it does it all. Which is more than can be said for most movies these days.

This movie certainly deserves the R rating. There is nudity, multiple sex scenes, a decent amount of violence, language, drugs.

If you are a fan of classic movies, watch it. Is it perfect? No, it certainly has weak points and flaws. But overall I was thoroughly entertained by it. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and I will definitely be buying this on Blu-Ray, hopefully with lots of insight into how this film was made and what technologies Zemeckis used.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

A wartime romance that could have been epic, but didn't quite make it

6/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
30 November 2016

'Allied' has garnered a mixed reaction, on IMDb and with critics in general. This is completely understandable, and the mixed reaction and the reasoning for it mirrors my own feelings for the film. 'Allied' is not a bad film, but from seeing the trailers (which strongly suggested a film that would be more epic, more moving and more thrilling) to be honest was expecting a lot more.

There is a lot to like about 'Allied'. Visually, it is a gorgeous film. The cinematography is rich in atmosphere and colour and is quite poetic too, while the sets, scenery and costumes are evocative and eye-catching. The music by Alan Silvestri is neither too intrusive or too low-key, instead stirring when it needs to be and understated again when needed. There are some thrilling and harrowing moments as well as some poignant ones in the more intimate scenes, personally thought the controversial ending was quite emotional but can definitely see why it won't work for some.

Marion Cotillard gives a nuanced and deeply felt turn, nothing short of sensational. Brad Pitt's performance has been criticised (as well as defended), to me it was appropriately stoic, despite his character being nowhere near as meaty as Cotillard's, and he was a worthy partner for Cotillard, a little cold in places but mostly fiery. The supporting cast are fine.

On the other hand, the script and pacing are uneven. The script is 'Allied's' biggest flaw, lacking plausibility in places, especially in the mission scenes, having too much padding that's overlong and adds little to nothing and some of the parts intended to be emotional laid it on too thick with the treacle and sentimentality. Much more could have been done with the psychological subtext, which would have made Pitt's character more interesting and given the story more consistent suspense and thrills.

Pacing does drag badly frequently, primarily due to having superfluous scenes that lacked momentum and went on too long and also due to Robert Zemeckis' quite disappointing direction. There are moments, but it is a case of getting the job done but in a workmanlike and tame fashion, not the thrills and cleverness one expects from Zemeckis that is present in the best of his work.

In summary, had potential to be epic as a wartime romance, but doesn't quite make it. Many great things, but a few big things that got in the way of fulfilling full potential. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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27 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Keep the emotions real

6/10
Author: David Ferguson (fergusontx@gmail.com) from Dallas, Texas
22 November 2016

Greetings again from the darkness. Every writer, director and actor dreams of being part of the next Casablanca … a timeless movie beloved by so many. It's rare to see such a blatant homage to that classic, but director Robert Zemekis (Oscar winner for Forrest Gump) and writer Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises) deliver their version with an identical setting, nearly identical costumes, and the re-use of a song ("La Marseillaise") which played such a crucial role.

Spy movies typically fall into one of three categories: action (Bourne), flashy/stylish (Bond), or detailed and twisty (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). This one has offers a dose of each blended with some romance and a vital "is she or isn't she" plot. The "she" in that last part is French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour played by Marion Cotillard. Her introduction here is a thing of beauty, as she floats across the room thrilled to be reuniting with her husband Max Vatan. Of course the catch is that Max is really a Canadian Agent and their marriage is a cover for their mission to assassinate a key Nazi. Yes, it's 1942 in Morocco.

The two agents work well together and it's no surprise when this escalates to a real romance between two beautiful and secretive people. It seems only natural that after killing Nazi's and making love in a car during a ferocious sandstorm that the next steps would be marriage, a move to London, and having a kid. It's at this point where viewers will be divided. Those loving the action-spy approach will find the London segment slows the movie to a crawl. Those who prefer intelligence gathering and intrigue may very well enjoy the second half more.

What if your assignment was to kill your beloved wife if she were deemed to be a double-agent? Max finds himself in this predicament, and since no one ever says what they mean in the community of spies, he isn't sure if the evidence is legit or if it's really a game to test his own loyalty. This second half loses sight of the larger picture of war, and narrows the focus on whether Max can prove the innocence of Marianne … of course without letting her know he knows something – or might know something.

Marion Cotillard is stellar in her role. She flashes a warm and beautiful smile that expertly masks her true persona. The nuance and subtlety of her performance is quite impressive. Mr. Pitt does a nice job as the desperate husband hiding his desperation, but his role doesn't require the intricacies of hers. Supporting work comes via Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan, August Diehl, Marion Bailey, Simon McBurney, and Matthew Goode.

The Zemekis team is all in fine form here: Cinematographer Don Burgess captures the feel of the era, Composer Alan Silvestri never tries to overpower a scene, and Costume Designer Joanna Johnston is likely headed for an Oscar nomination. For a spy movie, the story is actually pretty simple and the tension is never over-bearing like we might expect. While watching the performance of Ms. Cotillard, keep in mind her most telling line of dialogue: "I keep the emotions real." It's a strategy that is a bit unusual in her world. How effective it is will be determined by the end of the movie.

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20 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Cliché and underdeveloped

5/10
Author: bulldog_64501 from United States
3 December 2016

There was no plot twist although there were several places for a plot twist. If you saw the trailer, you saw the movie. Also, the break from the period setting to give modern values with no point. The introduction of a sister to Brad Pitt's character, who is openly a lesbian. This would NEVER happen in the 1940s as homosexuality was against the law and they were greatly disdained by the public. It is a completely pointless distraction from the period setting. Another goof, German Army officers wearing Nazi armbands. I was beginning to think Quinton Tarantino made this movie. Another example of how Hollywood cannot make a period movie without sabotaging their own production.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Movie by numbers

2/10
Author: Lawrence O'Neill from Cork, Ireland
29 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie has it's entertaining moments but is generally pretty bad. Totally lacking any tension the scenes are predictable and don't connect well to each other. The script is awful, almost laughable. The stereotypical British characters are embarrassing in a 4 weddings + funeral kinda way. The lesbian couple are pointless and seem to be thrown in there for PC reasons. Why does Brad Pitt turn into a mannequin every time he is introduced to people? The plot is full of holes...why did the German officer rush off to make a phone call instead of arresting Max Vatan?...why would 2 dynamic and ruthless killers be allowed to lounge around London for a couple of years? Surely they could have been useful in North Africa or Italy!...How was Beausejour allowed enter Britain, only for the British to later discover she was dead? So much for their Gibraltar station!...why, upon discovery, was she not used as a double agent, bearing in mind it was 2 months before D- Day? Now that could have been interesting!

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24 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Really wanted to like it

3/10
Author: jasontheterrible from United States
3 December 2016

This is the kind of film I go in to with a very forgiving attitude. Historical dramas are among my top choices and it was fantastic watching two of my all-time favorite stars trying to play multi-layered characters and doing pretty good. Then Zemeckis decided to add coke heads and other modern Hollywood projections in scenes of WW2 Britain. Not only was the language, behavior and attitude not historically accurate, it was so distracting and unnecessary in a period piece. Beautiful cinematography and set pieces and a good story all ruined by a need to desecrate old, traditional behavior and values. And by the way, people in the 40's rarely said F but here it was in every sentence. Sad and disappointing.

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Disintegrates into the implausible, then the syrupy and gooey

5/10
Author: stancym-1 from United States
26 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film started off well.....even though I knew there would be a plot development coming later regarding the possibility of the wife being a spy for the Nazis. I didn't mind the story of how the two leads got together and ended up in Hampstead in the middle of the war. I didn't mind waiting for the crisis to come up where Brad Pitt doesn't know if his wife is a spy or not. But once it does come up, Brad undertakes some pretty far fetched ventures that could undermine the Allies' security even in order to find out. I was even overlooking that. What finally tore it was the way Brad's wife played by Marion Cotillard handles her own dilemma and crisis. She could have sought help or guidance from Brad OR his superiors, totally versed in the very areas she was struggling with. It indicates that she did not trust her husband in spite of the lovey dovey marriage portrayed. Either that, or she was simply a wimp and a wuss. This made the whole movie rather unbelievable. As for the ending of the film with the letter to her daughter especially, that was superfluous and heavy on the treacle, a very obvious attempt to tug at heartstrings in case the audience doesn't already GET that she really loved her daughter. Last straw, by this time I really didn't care for the film.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Casablanca It Ain't

3/10
Author: Carl Schultz from United States
6 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Academy Award-winning 1942 motion picture Casablanca has become a legend of filmmaking, almost a part of folklore, by being as perfect a movie as is possible. A triumph of cohesion, not a scene or a line of dialogue is wasted—every single word and frame of film points to the climactic scene in which most of the the cast is present, all plot lines are resolved, and all the picture's mysteries solved…and which many film fans have memorized and can recite, word-for-word.

Robert Zemeckis, the director of Paramount's Allied, apparently believes that by fashioning his film on Casablanca, some of the magic of the 1942 picture will rub off on his. It doesn't. And that's a shame, because if the picture were truly a sum of its parts, Allied would be a wonderful experience.

But unlike Casablanca, the individual scenes of Allied do not add up to a complete picture. Rather, the diverse parts of the movie look as if they've been snipped from other, better pictures, and cobbled together by screenwriter Steven Knight for Zemeckis to direct.

Zemeckis, originally a Steven Spielberg protégé and an acknowledged expert on older movies, gets into the spirit of Knight's script by designing and positioning his shots in a manner reminiscent of scenes from other popular movies. As a director, Robert Zemeckis has always been more derivative than innovative, and any viewer who's seen Algiers or The English Patient, or even Out of Africa or Gone With the Wind, will likely leave Allied with a sense of déjà vu, a nagging suspicion that he or she has seen has seen the picture somewhere else.

In Allied, a crack Canadian counterintelligence agent played by Brad Pitt parachutes into French Morocco during the early days of World War II and makes his way to Casablanca to rendezvous with a member of the French resistance, played by Marion Cotillard. Their mission is to do some spy stuff together and then scoot back to London. Naturally they fall in love. And that's just the beginning of a picture which stretches credibility more and more with each of its passing 124 minutes.

Allied is a triumph of production design and costuming, but that's really not saying all that much. Pitt and Cotillard are attractive people and they look swell in the picture. When you dress them up in the smartest retro-chic wardrobe and set them loose in the trendiest wartime nightclubs in Casablanca, they look as if they just stepped from the pages of the Giorgio Armani catalog…although during the daytime scenes they sport elaborate sunglasses which almost scream Hey, we're spies!

Which leads to another difficulty with Allied: The anachronisms. In any motion picture, authenticity is essential to maintaining a successful illusion. In Allied, that's where the seams really begin to show. Key sequences take place during nighttime German bombing raids over London in 1942 through 1944—yes, the movie does cover some ground. But nobody seems to realize that the last major German bombing raids on London occurred fairly early in 1941, before Hitler turned east and attacked the Soviet Union.

But that's incidental to a picture in which World War II is little more than a plot device to enable the characters to participate illogically in exciting adventures. At one point, for narrow personal reasons Pitt's character steals an RAF airplane and dashes off to occupied France, and then promptly upon arrival accidentally instigates a melee between the French resistance and German soldiers.

In the very next scene, Pitt astonishingly appears back in London looking somewhat the worse for wear—exhausted and stylishly disheveled, but without an explanation of what happened to his companions in France or how he got back to England in such a big fat hurry. In reality, had the officer made it back alive he'd undoubtedly have been court-martialed. Pitt's character apparently works for an especially casual branch of the wartime military.

And in fact, Pitt's performance begins and ends with his physical appearance and his costuming. The actor looks properly dapper and dashing in his military uniform, and his formal attire and civilian clothing are stylish. But any real attempt at characterization seems to have been left behind either in Pitt's dressing room or in the supermarket tabloids.

Marion Cotillard, a genuinely talented actress who received an Academy Award for her performance as Edith Piaf in 2007's La Vie en Rose, reads her lines—especially the occasional subtitled French-language dialogue—with spirit and conviction. But she seems distracted, as if she's trying to remember somewhere else she's supposed to be.

In one early scene, Pitt's character is described by Cotillard as a poker-playing expert. As a test, a German agent gives Pitt a deck of cards to shuffle. After a brief pause to gain suspense—Can he do it?—Pitt's character spends the next minute or two performing card maneuvers mesmerizing enough to make Houdini proud.

But the filmmakers don't even bother to create the illusion that it's Pitt performing the tricks. Only in the last shot of the scene, in which the actor himself performs one clumsy little shuffle, does Pitt's face appear in the same shot as the cards.

That scene can serve as a metaphor for the entire picture. Essentially Allied is a clumsy diversion, a sleight-of-hand trick to distract the viewer from the fact that he's seen it all before, in better movies. Allied is a dumb movie masquerading as a smart one. If you want to see attractive people in stylish clothes and colorful situations, this is the movie for you. But if you want to see a compelling, believable drama about wartime romance, skip it.

Or better yet, just watch Casablanca again.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Stunning picture with a glamorous feel and great story on Romance.

7/10
Author: subxerogravity from United States
28 November 2016

Overall,it's a pretty good movie.

I just love the style of the picture. Generally that World War 2 era has that glamorous style to it, and leave it to Robert Zemeckis to add that extra kick.

Although I've Seen better costumes but this maybe because Canada did not have the best uniforms out of the WWII crowd.

And that made this movie strangely interesting. The 1st movie I ever seen about Canada's involvement in the War. Maybe I have seen others but it's so rare that it makes this movie seem unique that the story is about a Canadian wing commander who falls in love and builds a life with a woman who may not be all that she claims.

Speaking of which, The best part of the movie is that drama. Though I love the art direction as it puts me in That WWII setting, the visual effects do a good job of placing you right there, but the drama coming from Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard's connection on camera. It's this connection that's the most important and makes the movie what it is, and the emotion baggage is well worth it.

So not much of a war epic or an espionage movie as I went to see if for but it's a great love story set perfectly and beautifully in a different time and place worthy of checking out.

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22 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Duplicitous and Suspenseful!

7/10
Author: (RLTerry1@gmail.com) from Tampa, FL
21 November 2016

Quite the duplicitous plot! Robert Zemeckis' Allied released by Paramount Pictures is a thrilling tale of espionage and love. We have certainly seen a few different "spy" movies over the last couple of years; some more about espionage and others more about the drama that ensues afterwards. Fortunately, Allied feels like a genuine spy movie that actually contains espionage. The production design and costumes are a beautiful throwback to the fabulous 40s. You'll find yourself reaching for a glass of champagne and swing dancing to Benny Goodman's timeless big band jazz hit Sing, Sing, Sing. There is one city synonymous with WWII, espionage, and romance and you will appropriately return to that iconic city of Casablanca in Allied. This is definitely not a reimagined Casablanca but there are indirect references to that movie sprinkled throughout this new story. Films like this one require top notch talent, and both Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard deliver outstanding performances to accompany this staple in film genres. Not limited to the love story between Pitt's and Cotillard's respective characters, the movie also includes some deadly shootout scenes and dangerously close encounters with the Nazis behind enemy lines.

Commander and intelligence officer Max Vatan (Pitt) is stationed in the famous city of Casablanca in French Morocco where he teams up with French resistance movement leader Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard). Impressed by her ability to so effectively blend in and create her authentic cover, Vatan soon finds himself falling in love with his partner. Following the assassination of a Nazi ambassador, Beausejour and Vatan flee to London to start their life together. Everything is going beautifully for the happy couple in their second year of marriage with a child when Vatan's superiors confront him with the suspicion that Marianne is in fact a Nazi spy. Refusing to believe it to be true, Max must now conduct his own investigation into his wife's history to protect the ones he loves so dearly.

I absolutely adored the look and feel of the film as it echoes the era of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Although this movie plays off a tad listless as a result of failing to elicit a strong emotional response from the audience, it is not without it outstanding elements. It benefits from solid acting and beautiful cinematography as well as some fantastic symbolism. Robert Zemeckis' talent for visual storytelling is clearly visible in this period film. The weakness in the ability to successfully leave a lasting emotional impact on the audience is in the writing and executive producership of Steven Knight (Eastern Promises). For films that are not as much about the spectacle as they are the drama between characters and the challenge faced therein, it is vitally important that the personal/interpersonal relationships transcend the screen and directly impact the audience. All the makings were there for a deeply moving cinematic story, but it just doesn't quite make that transition from the mostly superficial and distant.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...(interesting fun fact: this misquoted line from Snow White is actually "magic mirror on the wall"). But, I digress. The strategic use of mirrors is an incredible use of visual storytelling and symbolism. For those who have studied film or literary rhetoric, the mirror is a classic means of conveying duplicity (two sides, faces, etc of a character). Even without knowing that this was a spy movie, I would have been able to infer that from how the mirrors are shot and placed within the composition of the 24 frames a second. When using powerful symbolism as part of the visual story, it conveys so much more meaning in a scene than words could actually describe. Mirrors have long sense been a powerful metaphor even before moving pictures. But motion pictures allow for a greater use of the importance it plays in a cinematic story. Not limited to duplicity, mirrors can also be used as a metaphor for self-reflection. Whether talking duplicity or reflection, the mirror aids in conveying so much to the audience in this movie.

Ordinarily, I am not a fan of classic films getting remakes; however, there are always exceptions when the core or essence of the film is held in tact but the production design, direction, and cinematography are brought up to speed with contemporary cinema. If you're a fan of WWII era films or the timeless spy movie, then you will definitely enjoy Allied. After witnessing the significance of Casablanca in this movie, I am actually looking forward to a remake if there ever is one. Provided. That the overall look and feel of the movie is in line with classical motion picture storytelling. I could definitely see Robert Zemeckis directing a remake of Casablanca. Occasionally there are directors who can strike the balance between classical cinematic storytelling told through contemporary technology, and Zemeckis definitely struck that balance in Allied.

Don't allow the weak writing to dissuade you from watching it; there is actually a lot to enjoy in this film. After the slow burn during the first act, acts II and III are full of intrigue and suspense.

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