Direc­tor Robert Ze­meckis Star­ring Brad Pitt, Mar­ion Cotil­lard, Jared Har­ris Ver­dict Style over sub­stance

Sunday Herald Sun - - Film Reviews -

DON’T judge a World War II thriller by the bias-cut folds of its lead­ing lady’s mint-green, satin evening gown.

Or the rak­ish tilt of the lead­ing man’s fe­dora.

Al­lied, direc­tor Robert Ze­meckis’ old-fash­ioned ro­man­tic epic about two spies who fall in love dur­ing what would ap­pear to be a sui­cide mis­sion in Casablanca in 1942, cer­tainly looks the part.

And the back­drop is sim­i­larly jaw-drop­ping.

The open­ing se­quence, in which Brad Pitt’s dash­ing wing com­man­der Max Vatan para­chutes into the Moroccan desert, sets the tone.

A soli­tary fig­ure sur­rounded in all di­rec­tions by un­du­lat­ing sand dunes, he watches as a ve­hi­cle makes its way to­wards him, un­clear un­til the last mo­ment whether it’s friend or foe.

Un­der­neath its im­pec­ca­bly tai­lored glad rags, how­ever, Al­lied is about as an­i­mated as one of Madame Tus­sauds’ wax­work dum­mies.

Pitt is strangely stiff in the role of Vatan, a Cana­dian air­man serv­ing with the RAF in Lon­don.

The in­ad­e­qua­cies of his ac­cent are the least of the ac­tor’s prob­lems.

Mar­ion Cotil­lard is an ac­tor of great warmth and raw ta­lent and while she fares a good deal bet­ter in the role of Mar­i­anne Beause­jour, the film’s pri­mary prob­lem is the lack of chem­istry be­tween the two leads.

They have zero emo­tional con­nec­tion on screen.

Since this is a film about a man who risks ev­ery­thing for love, that’s an ob­sta­cle that sim­ply can’t be over­come.

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