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Allied (2016)

Play It Again, Marion

For “inspired” as it pretends to be by a timeless classic, Allied sure has a twisted sense of timing. It kind of does the trick for thirty minutes or so, on the inspired grounds of “What would Casablanca become from the point of view of the woman in charge?”, then any intention to bring a new perspective to whatever is the subject goes down the drain unhappily ever after. This is French Morocco, during WW2, the villains are Nazis and this is not a Raiders of the Lost Ark spin-off, so what were you expecting? This movie is not an oddity, it is an anomaly, not to say an abberation.

Before we get to the Ferrero Rocher extended ad, let’s talk about language in this movie. It’s about spies, see, and their ability to blend in. Miss Cotillard is very good as an agent double before the script asks her character to bend over twice, and definitely better at giving birth than at dying. Mr Pitt, on the contrary, makes a fool of himself attempting at French, all the while fooling close friends or fluent German spies. And don’t start one on simulated post-coital bliss on a rooftop, spoken in English when all the neighbours are German spies. In dialogue as in war, one has to chose sides, and this movie is neither here nor there.

So, Ferrero Rochers. One guesses the ambassador assassination features prominently in the trailers, because it’s the only exciting moment of an otherwise dull, useless and as exsanguinated as the 2015 version of Madame Bovary (featuring a dull, useless and exsanguinated Mia Wasikowska). It’s all going Bourne all of a sudden, even though it doesn’t work for a number of reasons. The best thing here are character actors, which are quite on par with the alleged original. Mr Pitt, though, strikes awkward poses in uniform during an absurd bunker scene.

And it goes and on, attempting at pilfering Hitchcock’s Notorious, then Suspicion, then Sabotage, to no avail. The original, for which one doesn’t have any feeling, at least had cult lines like “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” while here we are blessed with “Show me your chickens, Max.” Further down the drain, there is a scene which is an embarassment to France and its national anthem, not to mention the Resistance. One thought Mr Pitt should have known better after Inglorious Basterds, but one doubts anyone involved in production was over 25.

Featuring no less than Mr Pitt killing in cold blood a woman in front of her infant child, Allied is some seriously awkward stuff, intended as an hommage but ending as a travesty of everything it is supposed to revere. It’s garbage, undecided to be an old new movie or a new old one, a black hole of every talent’s involved in the pursuit of such a McGuffin of a movie. Call it the Oscar Curse; if only it was the worse thing Miss Cotillard was involved this year (see next).

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