DIRECTOR: ROBERT ZEMECKIS LEAD CAST: BRAD PITT, MARION COTILLARD, JARED HARRIS, SIMON MCBURNEY SCREENWRITER: STEVEN KNIGHT PRODUCER: GRAHAM KING, STEVE STARKEY, ROBERT ZEMECKIS EDITOR: MICK AUDSLEY, JEREMIAH O’DRISCOLL MUSICAL DIRECTOR: ALAN SILVESTRI GENRE: ACTION DRAMA, HISTORICAL CINEMATOGRAPHER: DON BURGESS DISTRIBUTOR: PARAMOUNT PICTURES LOCATION: UNITED KINGDOM, UNITED STATES LANGUAGE: ENGLISH RUNNING TIME: 124 MINUTES
Technical assessment: 3.5
Moral assessment: 2
Cinema rating: A18
MTRCB rating: R16
Set in 1942, Canadian Wing Commander Max (Brad Pitt) makes his way into Casablanca, where he meets up with French Resistance fighter Marianne (Marion Cotillard). The two pose and must pass as husband and wife so they can work their way through the German-controlled city’s high society—angling for invitations to an exclusive party where their target, a German Ambassador, will be in attendance so they can accomplish their mission of assassinating him. Although the emotions aren’t supposed to be real, time spent in close proximity under the pressures of their mission made them fall in love. After their successful mission Max invites Marianne to London where they will be married and live a peaceful life—or will it be? Would they be an exception to the rule that marriages made in the field (of war) never work?
Allied is an elegant elaboration of another side of war, espionage and love. Aside from the obviously powerhouse lead actors, the entire production design is a showcase of prestige thereby creating a flamboyant spectacle from an otherwise little story of two people in love set in the most cynical time and space—and consequence. The build-up of suspense and excitement is sustained up to the end which makes the film an entertaining piece. Yet, looking closely on the narrative, there seems to be a number of logical flaws and lapses. There seem to be abrupt changes on the story thread that somehow reflect as compartmentalization of the three acts. Although the first two acts are connected, they are quite disjointed in terms of narrative and emotional flow. But then again, in its entirety, Allied is an achievement for a time film given the challenges of the production – bringing back to life on the big screen, scenes of the wartime past with such elegance, intensity and grandeur.
There is no question that Allied, although tastefully done, is visually morally disturbing. There are many scenes depicting vivid violence which, although done in the context of war, can still leave a lasting traumatic impression on a young audience. The scenes depicting pre-marital and marital sex are also graphic in nature. The theme itself calls for maturity and is not suitable to audiences below 18 years old. The moral dilemma of the main character in choosing between love of country and love for family perfectly fits the milieu. Is it moral to choose between two great and noble loves? Or perhaps, it is also right to ponder the foundations of each kind of love. Their love of country has made them savages—choosing death over life, killing or being killed; while their love of family has made them choose life at all times. However, in time of war, life and love are always uncertain, and love of country seems to be blind to truth and justice. The path that Max chose in the end may be moral and acceptable, but the road he and Marianne took and the decisions they made are all entirely disturbing. Is it because war blurs everything? Once it’s over, truth, justice and ultimately, life, and love prevail.