With his latest cinematic effort, director Robert Zemeckis is finally returning to reality after a brief and disappointing stint with animated works such as Beowulf. Reminiscent of the golden-age, Allied is a visually stunning and nostalgic take on how life used to be. With a straightforward yet complex narrative, accompanied with a beautiful score by Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump, Cast Away), you will be left longing for a time you’ve never known.
We open to a fabulous shot of Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), Air Force Commander, slowly descending by parachute into the Moroccan desert. After travelling to Casablanca he meets French Resistance fighter Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard) and the two must engage in a faux marriage in order to carry out an assassination on a high-ranking Nazi ambassador. In a nod to the iconic 1941 film of the same name, the faux love of Casablanca soon becomes true love and upon completing the mission and escaping the country they settle down in London and have a child, Anna.
Aside from the nightly bombings, life is simpler in London — organising house parties appearing to be the largest cause of stress. The family live an idyllic life in an idyllic world, thanks to the incredible cinematography. This is cut short however when Vatan is informed of new intelligence suggesting her wife is in fact a German spy. It’s laughable at first yet the claims are founded with damning evidence and what follows is the tragic collapse of his trust as he awaits the results of the investigation. Later that night as Vatan washes his face an earlier scene from Casablanca is replayed, where Beauséjour explains how creating real emotion when undercover has kept her alive so long. With Vatan slowly losing his mind as he tries to work out whether his life is all a lie, he decides to take matters into his own hands ultimately heading for France for answers.
Perhaps overly romanticised at times, including a raunchy scene during a sandstorm, the spectacle of it all seems to just work. Zemeckis’s passion for integrating the latest technological advances helps create a highly exaggerated world, one which the films it imitates dream to be. Cotillard and Pitt’s embodiment of vintage Hollywood match this wonderfully.
In a seemingly hopeless world ravaged by war, life is lived to the fullest and love is true. Zemeckis shows us the beauty in the detail and although this movie isn’t perfect, it implants a renewed sense of admiration for the sacrifices made by those before us.