Allied is a 2016 British-American war thriller film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Steven Knight. It stars Brad Pitt as a Canadian intelligence officer and Marion Cotillard as a French Resistance fighter and collaborator who fall in love while posing as a married couple during a mission in Casablanca. Jared Harris, Simon McBurney and Lizzy Caplan also star.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Zemeckis|
|Written by||Steven Knight|
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$120 million|
Principal photography began in February 2016 in London. The film premiered in London on November 21, 2016 and was released in the United States on November 23, 2016 by Paramount Pictures. It received mixed reviews from critics, although Pitt and particularly Cotillard's performances were praised, and grossed $120 million worldwide. It also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design.
In 1942 during World War II, Wing Commander Max Vatan, a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot serving on intelligence duties, travels to Casablanca in Morocco to assassinate a German ambassador. He is partnered with a French Resistance fighter named Marianne Beauséjour, who had escaped from France after her resistance group was compromised and killed.
The two pose as a married couple and grow close, despite agreeing that in their line of work feelings can get people killed. Marianne, who is trusted by the Germans, secures Max an invitation to the party where they plan to conduct the assassination. On the day itself, they have sex inside a car in the middle of a desert sandstorm, knowing that they might not survive. However, the mission is successful and they both escape. Max asks Marianne to come with him to London and be his wife. The two get married, settle down in Hampstead, and have a baby girl named Anna, who is born during a bombing raid.
A year later, Max learns from the Special Operations Executive that Marianne is suspected of being a German spy, having adopted her identity after the real Marianne was killed in France, and that the German ambassador they assassinated was a dissident Hitler wanted dead. In order to test their suspicions, SOE run a "blue dye" operation: Max is ordered to write down a piece of false intelligence at home, where Marianne can find it. If the information is picked up from intercepted German transmissions, Max must personally execute her, or be hanged for high treason. Max is told otherwise to act normally and not do his own investigation.
Defying orders, Max visits a former colleague named Guy Sangster who knew Marianne; however, Sangster, blinded by a wartime injury, cannot confirm her identity. He reveals that resistance fighter Paul Delamare, who worked with Marianne in France, is still alive in Dieppe and would be able to identify her. Max finds a young pilot named Adam Hunter, gives him a photograph with a "classified" note — asking if the woman in the photo is Marianne Beauséjour — and instructs him to obtain a "yes" or "no" answer from Delamare.
Max and Marianne host a house party. Max's commanding officer Frank Heslop comes and tells him that Hunter was killed while waiting on the ground for the answer from Delamare and berates him for his insubordination. Max wonders if what he was told about Marianne is all a test of his loyalty as part of a promotion to V-Section.
The following evening, Max takes the place of a Lysander pilot and flies to France to meet with Delamare, who is being held at the local police station. Max and the local resistance break into the town's local jail, but Delamare is drunk and cannot verify the picture. The delay allows time for the French police officer to alert the Germans, whom Max and the resistance manage to defeat. Prior to leaving, Max is informed by Delamare that Marianne was a talented pianist who had once played La Marseillaise in defiance of occupying Germans in the early stages of the war.
Back in England, Max takes Marianne to a local pub and demands she play the piano. Marianne cannot. She admits she is a spy and forwarded the "blue dye" message, which Max left in plain view. She claims her feelings for Max are genuine, and that she was forced back into being a German spy because German agents were threatening Anna.
Max, unwilling to kill his wife, tells her they need to flee the country. He kills Marianne's handlers, a nanny and a jeweller. They drive to a local airbase, but Max cannot get the plane to start before Heslop and the military police arrive. Max tries to plead his case before the officers, but Marianne tells him that she loves him, asks him to take care of Anna, and then shoots herself. Heslop orders the soldiers present to report that Max executed Marianne as per his orders, so that Max himself will not be punished.
After the war, Max moves to a ranch in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, as he had always wanted to do, and raises Anna. The film ends with Marianne reading a letter that she had written to her daughter, anticipating that one day her real identity would be uncovered.
- Brad Pitt as Wing Commander Max Vatan
- Marion Cotillard as Marianne Beauséjour
- Jared Harris as Colonel Frank Heslop
- Matthew Goode as Group Captain Guy Sangster
- Lizzy Caplan as Pilot Officer Bridget Vatan, Max's sister
- Anton Lesser as Emmanuel Lombard
- August Diehl as Captain Hobar
- Camille Cottin as Monique
- Charlotte Hope as Louise
- Marion Bailey as Mrs. Sinclair
- Simon McBurney as S.O.E. Official
- Daniel Betts as Flight Lieutenant George Kavanagh
- Thierry Frémont as Paul Delamare
- Raffey Cassidy as Anna Vatan
- Josh Dylan as Adam Hunter
On February 6, 2015, Paramount Pictures and New Regency announced that Robert Zemeckis was to direct an untitled World War II romantic thriller, in which Brad Pitt would star. Steven Knight wrote the original script, in development by Graham King's GK Films, which now would be produced by ImageMovers' Zemeckis and Steve Starkey along with King. On June 8, 2015, Marion Cotillard was cast to play a spy along with Pitt, who fall in love during a mission to kill a German official. In August 2015, Knight said that the film would be based on a true story told to him at the age of 21, and also that the shooting would start in January 2016. On January 28, 2016, Jared Harris joined the film. On March 8, 2016, Lizzy Caplan was cast to play Pitt's sister. Executive producers on the film would be Knight, Jack Rapke, Patrick McCormick and Denis O'Sullivan. Alan Silvestri composed the music.
Principal photography on the film began in February 2016 in London, with the family home located on the corners of Christchurch Hill and Willow Road in Hampstead. In May 2016 scenes set in Casablanca were shot in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.
All of the outfits in the film were custom-made for the cast. The silver cross, worn by Brad Pitt in the film was also custom made by London-based jeweller Stephen Einhorn.
Allied grossed $40.1 million in the United States and Canada and $79.4 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $119.5 million, against a net production budget of $85 million. The Hollywood Reporter estimated the film lost the studio $75–90 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.
Allied opened alongside Moana, Rules Don't Apply and Bad Santa 2 and was expected to gross around $15 million in its opening weekend and $20–25 million over its first five days from 3,160 theaters. The film ended up grossing $12.7 million in its opening weekend (a five-day total of $17.7 million), finishing 4th at the box office. It remained in fourth place in its second weekend with a gross of $7 million.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, Allied has an approval rating of 60% based on 235 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Allied has its moments, but doesn't quite achieve epic wartime romance status—a disappointment made more profound by the dazzling talent assembled on either side of the camera." Metacritic reports a normalized score of 60 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave a 79% overall positive score and a 56% "definite recommend".
Writing for Deadline Hollywood, Pete Hammond stated that "Screenwriter Steven Knight has crafted a nifty story that isn't just a mere imitation of something you could imagine Ingrid Bergman and William Holden doing, even though wearing a certain hat in one scene Cotillard looks exactly like Bergman in the 1943 classic Casablanca. This one has all the requisite trappings including Nazis, bombed-out cities, foreign intrigue and impossibly good-looking stars." The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gary Rotstein, in contrast, wrote that notwithstanding "so many shared plot references [to] Casablanca", while that film is "among the greatest films of all time ... the other is about as flat as one of those WWII wall maps on which swastikas denote all the German-occupied parts of Europe".
Stephanie Zacharek of Time stated that "Even within this highly synthetic world, Pitt and Cotillard give sturdy, coded performances that feel naturalistic, not phony: They understand clearly that their chief mission is to tap the tradition of melodrama, and they take it seriously. Somehow, almost incomprehensibly, it all works. Allied looks old but smells new, and the scent is heady." Eric Eisenberg from CinemaBlend gave the film four out of five, writing: "Pitt is given what can be called the meatier part, as Max's raw nerves are fully exposed throughout the film as he tries to learn the truth about his wife—but Cotillard's part is the more subtle and challenging, perfectly engulfing Marianne with an enigmatic air that perpetually keeps the audience guessing. They're heavy turns, but Pitt and Cotillard prove again why they're two of the best in the business."
Rex Reed from The New York Observer, gave the film four out of four, writing: "Beautiful, bold and blazing with sex and suspense, Allied is a gorgeously photographed, intensely romantic, action-packed film by the great director Robert Zemeckis with two titanic star performances by Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard that delivers something for everyone. If you love classic movies and their potential to sweep you up into a world outside of your own experience, this one will rock your world."
Reviewing for Movies & Drinks the 2017 Blu-ray release, Paul Mavis wrote that although Allied's extensive CGI is at first visually interesting, it ultimately creates a "dead air, black box" feel that serves no purpose: "Almost none of Allied feels real, which is of course ironic when that's the whole crux of screenwriter Stephen Knight's story...I wish Zemeckis was smart enough to make his love of technology actually serve this conceit of reality versus deliberate fabrication, to create an environment that was just as untrustworthy as his characters. However, he seems to be using CGI here...just to save money and to avoid shooting on location".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||February 26, 2017||Best Costume Design||Joanna Johnston||Nominated|||
|British Academy Film Awards||February 12, 2017||Best Costume Design||Joanna Johnston||Nominated|||
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||December 11, 2016||Best Costume Design||Joanna Johnston||Nominated|||
|Jupiter Awards||March 29, 2017||Best International Actor||Brad Pitt||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||February 19, 2017||Best Art Direction and Production Design||Gary Freeman||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||June 28, 2017||Best Action or Adventure Film||Allied||Nominated|||
|Visual Effects Society Awards||February 7, 2017||Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature||Kevin Baillie, Brennan Doyle, Viktor Muller, Sandra Scott and Richard Van Den Bergh||Nominated|||
|Women Film Critics Circle||December 19, 2016||Best Screen Couple||Allied||Nominated|||
|Best Equality of the Sexes||Allied||Nominated|
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