Despite its intriguing premise and impressive pedigree, “Allied” resembles nothing as much as a lavish big screen reimagining of “’Allo ‘Allo”.
In 1942, a Canadian RAF spy encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission Vichy occupied Morocco. Later reunited in London, their relationship blossoms into love but as the war grinds on, doubts begin to surface. Trained to lie, how can they be sure they’re telling each other the truth?
At first, “Allied” feels like an odd choice for director Robert Zemeckis but as it progresses you can see his penchant for the technical and digital recreations manifest at every opportunity. Brad Pitt seems particularly lifeless and there are points where he seems to have been supplemented by Zemeckis’ digital tinkering to the point of falling into the uncanny valley.
From its opening moments, the movie has lofty ambitions to be a “Casablanca” for the 21st Century but it falls so short as to be laughable. It almost rivals “Everest” for the most obvious and egregious use of studio sets and the clumsiness of the recreations jar constantly with those scenes genuinely filmed on location.
The story has moments of interest but it’s too slow and unevenly paced and in the absence of any sign of chemistry between Pitt and Cotillard gropes blindly for some kind of meaning. Everyone plays it with a determined earnestness but the script just can’t seem to settle on a tone so ends up being too silly to be serious but too serious to be fun.
Overwrought melodrama and a lack of genuine intrigue makes this a hollow, glossy period piece. For a story about military intelligence, it offers precious little of either and even the combined star power of Pitt and Cotillard can’t overcome its shortcomings.