Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard team up to take down Nazis as the most beautiful spies this side — or any side — of Austin Powers.
IN A CAREER of groundbreaking firsts, Allied represents another for Robert Zemeckis: his first full-blown cinematic romance. Just don’t ask him why he is doing it. “Why directors are attracted to material is like love affairs,” says the man behind Back To
The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and last year’s The Walk. “It either happens or it doesn’t; there’s no real science. It was fun and challenging to do something I’d never done before.”
Allied sees Special Operations Executive agents Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) fall in love on a mission to assassinate a high-ranking German official. With an early stretch that follows Max as he learns to pose as Marianne’s husband in the glamorous environs of 1940s Casablanca, the movie explores the idea that in love, as in spying, we all wear facades. “It speaks, on a very dramatic level, to the truth of every romantic relationship; there is always something going on,” the director explains. “There are always moving parts.”
As you’d expect from Zemeckis, there will be white-knuckle action set-pieces, including an air-raid on a hospital, but spectacle isn’t his primary concern. “The bigness is throwaway,” he says. “It is there to serve the intimacy.” It’s all a long way from the flux capacitors and cartoon rabbits that made his name.
“I probably wouldn’t have been attracted to this when I was 26,” he muses. “I would have been too restless and goofy. For this material, you’ve got to have years under your belt to understand the nuance. You have to have been through a lot of pain.” Hopefully that pain will be our gain.