Allied (Zemeckis, 2016)

To tell the truth, Allied would have been infinitely more interesting if the roles were reversed, and it was Cotillard who was investigating Pitt as the potential spy. I know Pitt’s the bigger star, but Jesus does he drain the life out of his character. He’s usually more charismatic than this—maybe, as someone else has pointed out, he was trying to channel the laconic masculine power of Humphrey Bogart? Only, he’s not talented enough to reach Bogey’s level, so unfortunately the gamble doesn’t pay off (he’s still very handsome, though, in spite of how alarmingly youthful his baby face is here). Cotillard is much livelier by comparison, and yet the limits of the story force her to play a marginal role after the Casablanca episode. That’s why a role-reversal would have been a benefit: we could’ve seen Cotillard’s magnetism the whole way through.

Still, something has to be said for the old world charm that Zemeckis brings here. Unapologetically throwback, stylish, emotional—very reminiscent of handsomely-mounted thrillers from back in the day. However, its script needs more heft in some areas, particularly in the midsection, and some potentially interesting plot elements are left unexplored (the German handlers, Marianne exchanging the glance with the woman whose husband she kills, etc.). So it’s not going to compare favourably to the greats, but few films ever can. I quite liked it all the same. The Oscar nod for the costumes was also very inspired, as Cotillard’s gowns are ravishing.