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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 2, 2016

Allied Movie Review: A Nostalgic Tribute To Old Style Hollywood Filmmaking Like "Casablanca"

TOO BAD for “Allied” that it was not promoted well locally so it came and went very quickly. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, who made the hit “Back to the Future” franchise and gave Tom Hanks his second Oscar in “Forrest Gump”, the film is a wartime romance-espionage thriller that starts in 1942 when an intelligence officer, Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), parachutes into French Morocco for a mission in Casablanca.

This is to kill the German ambassador with the help of Marian Beausejour (Marion Cotillard, Oscar winner for “La Vie en Rose”), a French resistance fighter who pretends to be his wife and his connection to local Nazis in the area. While preparing for their mission, they fall in love and have an unconventional love scene inside their small car while a sandstorm is swirling all around them.

They succeed in accomplishing their mission in a well staged action sequence and they move to London, where they get married and have a daughter. But their happy life as a married couple is only very brief as Max's superiors tell him that his wife is, in truth, a German spy. It appears that the real Marianne is already long dead and his wife now transmits messages gotten from him to the enemy.

Max is tasked to kill her but first, he makes his own investigation. He even flies a plane to France to verify the identity of his wife and later gets into a street battle with some Germans. The viewer has to keep guessing the truth about Marianne and, of course, we can’t reveal to you how to the story goes. Suffice it to say that Zemeckis manages to indulge in some good storytelling that generates a lot of suspense and in constructing spectacular scenes like an air raid that takes place while a party is going on and culminates in a fiery plane crash.

He also gets superb performances from the two leads, particularly Brad Pitt who’s persuasively anguished as the loving husband who believe or accept that the woman he loves is a traitor who has betrayed him. The film is a portrait of stylish film making with great period production and costume design, fine cinematography and great musical score.

It’s actually a nostalgic tribute to old style Hollywood film making and great romances, though still not on the same level as the classic that “Casablanca” is, although Pitt is handsomer than Bogart, but Bergman remains to be more luminous and ravishing than Cotillard. But Pitt and Cotillard do have some hot chemistry. No wonder it’s during the making of this movie that Angelina Jolie allegedly got jealous, leading to their eventual break up. But that’s another story.