"Now we should talk & laugh. We're married why would we laugh?"
"Actually Max, the mistake people mistake in these situations isn't having sex [another word is used] it's feeling."
"When the war is over, it won't matter where I am...If we're dead tomorrow, no one would know."
"I want you to play the piano for me. What are you talking about? I want you to play La Marseillaise. Play! I know the story, but they threatened Anna. Did you send it?! Yes. I've loved you since Casablanca [Max]...I love you. Take good care of her."
I'm fully aware that a majority of my film reviews lately revolve around the Second World War & this film critique called "Allied" directed by Robert Zemeckis released in 2016 is no exception to that rule of thumb either. This 2 hour & 4 minute flick is very stylish & slick with a heavy dose of intrigue & espionage in it. You're right in my wheelhouse now. Sweet! I love clandestine operation stuff infiltrating adversaries behind enemy lines with assassination missions, love triangles, double agents, & where try loyalties lie in the end. Straight out the gate SW1 is telling my audience that this picture deserves an A because of the on screen chemistry, stakes, & unexpected outcome that evokes bliss & tragedy in one self stroke of commitment & genuine love. The pacing is somewhat measured or slow, but the climax or payoff is well worth the wait. Trust me.
We are located in Morocco ladies & gentlemen. The year is 1942. A Canadian Intelligence officer born in Ontario has just parachuted into the desert as an Air Force fly boy. His name is Max Vatan [Brad Pitt.] Max walks several miles until he finds a paved road. Shortly thereafter, he is picked up by a driver who hands him a large briefcase filled with NAZI passports, currency, guns, & a fresh tailored suit. The driver hands Max a box with a wedding ring inside of it. As he transports Max to Casablanca in North Africa, he tells Max to look for a female contact wearing a purple evening gown with a hummingbird scarf close by resting on a chair. Her name is Maryann Beauséjour [Marion Cotillard]. No, before you even ask, Humphrey Bogart was nowhere to be seen. I did feel like I stepped back in time though with Benny Goodman's orchestra playing 'Sing, Sing, Sing' in the upscale night club though. Everybody is sipping champaign & whiskey by candlelight in sparkling dresses & 3 piece suits & tuxes everywhere. That era, the 1940's, made smoking a cigarette look cool & sophisticated as hades too. No doubt about it.
If you haven't figured it out yet, Max--a member of the Canadian resistance & a commissioner officer working for Great Britain is rendezvousing with Mary Ann, a leader of the French Resistance from Paris, has met up in Morocco's largest city Casablanca in order to disrupt & derail the presence of the NAZI Third Reich with a strong foothold there. They took a spin on the dance floor, leave, & go back to her apartment. Once there, Maryann helps Max fine-tune his French accent, shows him his new lavish wardrobe; fires off a few rounds for target practice; & they go over their plan to liquidate the German ambassador at gunpoint during his official gala ball this Saturday night. All intelligence officers regardless of the regime they represent know full well that they could die after mowing down their assigned target. The trick to survival is knowing your partner in crime intimately & exceptionally well. You must fool Führer disciples that you are devoted to their master race cause in order to get in the room to spray the ambassador with bullets because if an SS officer believes you are not authentic in your allegiance to the NAZI Party--You will be interrogated, beaten, & shot without a second thought.
In an effort to get to know one another, Maryann asks Max questions whereby you reach a point where you finish the other one sentences. They even discuss future plans should they survive their mission & the war. Max tells Maryann that he hopes to buy a ranch in Medicine Hat, Alberta Canada & raise horses on it with a child or two. Initially, she thinks he's joking, but later on Maryann begins to appreciate his simple tastes. At 8:35 PM that Saturday night, they patiently wait for their diversion: A car bomb explosion just outside the building. They flip over a table with wine & glasses on top of it. Taped just underneath are machine. The magazines on the firearms themselves are attached on the side of the gun as opposed to below the weapon itself. The operator empties 1 clip, flips the clip the opposite direction, locks it back in place like say a vacuum attachment; & continues to pop off more shells. Never seen that before. Interesting. Why do targets always run late for their own celebration anyway? Bad guys are rarely punctual man which almost made the diversion tactic irrelevant.
Luckily, both Max & Maryann survive the assassination mission without a scratch. Did I mention that they crossed a professional spy line BTW. They sleep together inside the car as a sandstorm approached them swiftly in the desert. I get it. Fear of one's own mortality makes you engage in frisky activities just to feel vibrant & alive. Both Max & Maryann are pretty photogenic so naked twister makes sense right? There was a lot of room to more around in that car though. I'm not kidding man. That vehicle is more spacious than most contemporary campers purchased today. Wow.
Back in London, Max & Maryann get hitched & a yr later, she gives birth to a baby girl named Anna in the hospital during an air raid. It's an unconventional scene because we can't imagine undergoing child birth as bombs are being dropped, glass is shattering, & debris is flying everywhere. Max has been promoted & he is well respected by his UK supervisor in England named Frank Heslop [Jared Harris]. Life is good & very stable. That's just when the ice melts beneath your feet & your world of bliss gets turned upside down that is. Crap.
It turns out that intelligence officers with more clout than Frank or Max have suspect that his beloved wife Maryann is a double agent handing over sensitive war information to the Germans. Max believes this theory is absurd naturally. Nevertheless, he is order to 'blue dye' his spouse. Translation: Feed Maryann false intel just to see if she passes this classified material to Germans loyal to Hitler. So let me get this straight: Max is supposed to jot down coded info on a notepad, leave the info in a place where Maryann will notice it, pass it on to the enemy; & if you clue your wife in on it; run with her or refuse to shoot her for treason...The British government is authorized to hang you. Whoa. She is the mother of his daughter Anna man. Talk about a rock & a hard place. Yikes!
Max has only 1 card left to play. Jump on a plane & fly to Paris to see if a man named Paul Delamare can identify if his wife in a wedding photo is the real Maryann Beauséjour or not. Paul knew this French resistance leader personally long before World War II started & if says Max's soulmate is the same person then she can't be a traitor to the Allies at all. Could you kill the love of your life & the mother of your only child? I sure as hades couldn't. Darn baby. This is a bad quagmire man.
It turns out that Maryann the imposter took over this leader's role after she was killed in 1941. Maryann had no intension of aiding the NAZI's until Anna's babysitter named Mrs. Sinclair [Marion Bailey] threatened to harm MaryAnn's little girl unless she started stealing UK intelligence from her husband Max. We are never told this directly from the sinister nanny but we can connect the dots very easily. Max takes his imposter wife to a local pub where he orders her to play the French Natl. Anthem on piano in private. She can't play a lick of piano. Paul told Max that the Maryann he knew played this song in front of SS officers shortly after the Germans occupied Paris during the war.
Max has a decision to make. Kill his wife or not. We know where this trajectory is going folks. The woman Max loves won't die at his hand today. Instead, Max shoots the devious nanny Mrs. Sinclair, takes out the rest of the German moles that Maryann met or had interactions with, drives to the Air Force base with his wife & daughter; starts up the engines on a large plane to flee England; Frank his boss parks his car in front of 1 of the propellers preventing Max's ability to take off.
And then Maryann made the greatest sacrifice of all...It's raining outside. She grabs Max's gun out of the glove box. Don't worry, the baby is safely lying on the driver's seat. Maryann puts her red hood up, opens the door, tells Max who is arguing with Frank at the moment that she loves him in French; a tear slides down her cheek; she puts the pistol under her chin & squeezes the trigger. Holy bleep! I gotta say I didn't see that one coming. An arrest sure. Self sacrifice nope. The film ends with a voice of MaryAnn writing a letter to Anna on the eve of this Greek tragedy demise. Max does purchase his horse ranch after the war too & we get to see glimpses of Anna as a 18 yr old woman chilling with her daddy. Nice.
I really enjoyed Allied because it confirmed that it is possible to lie, fall in love, & make the greatest sacrifice for the man & child you revere dearly. Also, I can't criticize Max either. War & love makes you do things that defy logic. It just does & when bonds get created--You do anything to preserve, prolong, & protect them regardless of the consequences. The look & ambiance of this film was tremendous with the vintage cars, clothes, & guns. Plus, we need to see in cinema that casualties & scars come in many forms that can't always be erased from existence or the human heart.
The French Natl. Anthem on piano. The failure to play this song blew Maryann's cover forever.