In the midst of World War II, Canadian spy Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) goes undercover in French Morocco with French resistance member Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard), with the two assuming the roles of a married couple in order to assassinate the German ambassador. During their time together, they fall for each other and decide to get married shortly after their mission in London, where they also have a child. A few years later, Max is called into work and told that the real Marianne Beauséjour was killed before Max arrived in French Morocco, and his wife is believed to be a German spy. With a test set to confirm this information in a few days, and affirmation meaning that Max will have to eliminate his wife, Max works through his own methods to find out if the love of his life is working for the Nazis.
Allied can essentially be split in half, and while neither half works entirely, the first part does an admirable enough job with its setup to render the second part more disappointing. Watching Max and Marianne develop their relationship is a bit of a guessing game, since the two strangers are having to pose as people with a far more intimate relationship. There’s some intrigue to the relationship, and the film’s setting calls to mind one of the classics of film, Casablanca. But when the film moves forward in time, the focus shifts from the relationship between Max and Marianne to Max solely, with Marianne becoming less of a character and more of an object. It becomes harder to be invested in the relationship, which removes a lot of the dramatic stakes that are supposed to be in play. Of the three major players here – Pitt, Cotillard, and director Robert Zemeckis – all have done better, and only Cotillard seems in any way invested here. Allied boasts a solid premise, but it fails to come together.