Hollywood celebrity trackers will flock to see this latest Brad Pitt film because it is at the center of his impending divorce from Angelina. The rumor mill had it that Angelina was done with Brad because he had an affair with his lovely co-star Marion Cotillard.


Pitt fans will be watching every gesture and every kiss so they can speculate as to whether there is a case for bad boy Brad. Cotillard is beautiful and single... the rumor mill will be busy!


It may also be busy with awards buzz that is partially merited. Pitt and Cotillard have magnificent screen chemistry and the camera loves them. Even in casual scenes, they are fashion plates as they pull off the Bogart and Bacall imitation to a tee. These are the types of characters that made World War II spy films and endearing genre.

It opens with Max (Pitt), an intelligence officer meeting up with a new French Underground connection, Marianne (Cotillard). They have a single mission - potentially a suicide mission - to kill a German target. There is an initial mutual lack of trust, but it has more to do with competence than allegiance to the cause. Max becomes concerned when Marianne forgets to release the safety on her Sten submachine gun.


During the mission, they must pose as husband and wife. Since they are being watched by everyone in Casablanca (a nod to the Bogart and Bergman in style and costuming), Marianne insists that Max maintain an intimate presence; she is a stickler for detail. Max goes along with it until after the mission is completed, he realizes that he has become emotionally attached to her and she to him.


They get married and have a child... after British intelligence checks her out and clears her.

After a couple of years while the war continues, it turns out that Marianne, might not be the person she claims to be. We are left to wonder if her attention to detail was so exact, that she was carrying on a mission as the wife of a British intelligence officer in Britain?


The story, clearly an homage to "Casablanca" and, in a sense "Prizzi's Honor" is far more predictable than both. Though Pitt and Cotillard have the screen dazzle to pull off a Bogart and Bergman or Borgat and Bacall, the overall story misses that third element. There is an opportunity to have August Diehl's character to be the sinister German insider as Claude Rains (Captain Louis Renault) in "Casablanca", but it comes up very short. But the attempt was obvious from the moment Diehl lit his cigarette.


Copying the style of a great film like "Casablanca" or "To Have and Have Not" is quite acceptable, but it would have helped if the outcome hadn't been so predictable and weak. It is ultimately a huge letdown especially considering a cast that understands the importance of a narrative twist. I'm not quite sure what Bob Zemeckis was thinking.


Visually, as with all Zemeckis films, it is a beautifully crafted film, capturing the feel of the best WWII spy films. Pitt is debonair and Cotillard is sophisticated.


"Allied" isn't as good as it wants to be and the narrative comes up short as an homage to the great World War II spy films like "Casablanca". Brad Pitt and Marianne Cotillard are spot on with their characters but the predictable ending nullifies the acting.   -- GEOFF BURTON