• Review: Allied (2016)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Sun May 21 08:02:26 2017
    ALLIED (2016)
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2017 David N. Butterworth

    ** (out of ****)

    As children--and sometimes uncomfortably into adulthood--me and the sibs
    were repeatedly told "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything
    at all."
    Here endeth my review of "Allied."
    But seriously...
    The new Brad Pitt/Marion Cotillard WWII "action" drama is not a *bad*
    film per se, but it's not the "gripping, powerful, and epic!" (Scott Mantz, "Access Hollywood") cinematic creation it might have been given the $85
    million budget and Robert "Back to the Future" Zemeckis' name on the
    director's chair. It certainly shoots for those adjectives, but delivers a
    lot closer to "pedestrian, uninvolving, and blah!" And despite the combined talents that Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard bring to the table, they are
    not "sensational" (Mantz again). In all honesty, they're never really given
    the opportunity to be anything but "adequate," mostly due to a lackluster script (by "Eastern Promises"' scribe Steven Knight) and Zemeckis'
    workmanlike yet one-note direction, which focuses more on period detail
    (1942) than emotional resonance (about 19.42).
    Oh, it's a lovely *looking* costumer of course--Brad's right dapper in
    his military flyboy duds and Marion's super fetching in her clingy chiffon negligees--but they don't "burn up the screen" (Butterworth) as they ought. It's partly a lack of chemistry, understandably hard to generate when the script asks our leads to mistrust each other for over half the picture, but it's also the plot contrivances over which they're required to skate.
    Mr. Mantz might be a singularly fine writer but why are quotes from
    his review the *only* ones that adorn the Paramount DVD? Fair's fair--there *are* a couple of outtakes from two more critics buried deep in its rear
    cover plot synopsis (which amounts to "Canadian intelligence officer Max
    Vatan (Pitt) is informed that his wife, former French Resistance operative Marianne Bousejour (Cotillard), is a German spy. Or is she?"). ABC-TV's
    Mark S. Allen calls "Allied" "a romantic thriller not to be missed." That
    is not true. You *can* miss it. And Athenia Veliz-Dunn of "Hollywood Today Live" dubs it "the best movie of the year." That's also not true. Well,
    since I haven't read Ms. Veliz-Dunn's review she might well have written
    "the best movie of the year... to feature Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard," which it undoubtedly was. Otherwise, no. It wasn't. (And if you're curious, neither was "La La Land"!)
    No, this is more glossy, good-looking people going through the motions stuff than any kind of grandiose emotional drama with Nazis stuff. Again,
    not bad, just not worth $685,484 per minute of anyone's time.
    With its play it (again), Sam ultimatum, "Allied" regularly reminds us we're not in "Casablanca" any more. It certainly tried my English patience.

    David N. Butterworth

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