There are many reasons for the buzz surrounding the World War II spy thriller Allied, which stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises) as married intelligence officers who have separate agendas. And though there's no shortage of films about WWII, the subject has, for decades, continued to be a draw. Moviegoers have become more demanding about war films, but that's OK, because Allied is not like anything they've seen before. The story is told from a unique and intriguing perspective.
Pitt plays British intelligence officer Max Vatan, who meets French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard) on a mission behind enemy lines in Casablanca in 1942. Reuniting in London, they fall in love and get married, but they're far from anything resembling "happily ever after." The pressures of the war threaten to destroy their union. A dramatic twist upsets what initially seemed a predicable plot, when Max is informed by his superior that Marianne may be a double agent. Told he will have to kill her if she turns out to be working for the enemy, he finds himself in an impossible position. Max is warned that if he refuses to carry out his "duty," he will be hanged.
The cast also features Jared Harris (Mad Men), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), Simon McBurney (The Theory of Everything), and Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game).
Allied is a rare example of an action-suspense flick that is also compelling on a personal level. It should appeal to a wide audience. Watching it, you can't help asking yourself what you would do in the same circumstances.
Another thing that has hyped interest in the project are the personal lives of its two stars. As all movie fans know, Brad Pitt is in the midst of a public divorce from Angelina Jolie. The undeniable onscreen chemistry between Pitt and Cotillard in Allied has fueled rumors, which have been denied, that the two may be romantically involved. Allied also reminds us of Pitt's spy thriller Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which was filmed with Jolie around the time he was breaking up with Jennifer Aniston, spawning speculation about a possible love triangle.
The film is directed by the innovative special effects wizard Robert Zemeckis, who is known for helming original, cutting edge films like Back to the Future, Forrest Gump and Castaway. The screenplay was written by Steven Knight, who penned the popular spy drama Eastern Promises.
Allied hits theaters on Nov. 23.
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