February 2, 2017

Allied (2016)

Marion Cotillard, Brad Pitt


I recently heard someone say Brad Pitt was "an excellent character actor trapped in a leading actor's body." That comment really stuck with me, as I've never quite been able to put my finger on why I wasn't more enthusiastic about him. Sure, he's good looking. I don't think there is anyone out there who can deny that. But his acting is spotty. For each brilliant performance like Mickey in Snatch, there are a handful of very dull ones, like Achilles in Troy (and yes, I know it was bad movie regardless of his performance). He seems to be at his best when portraying an eccentric personality with limited screen time.

Fast forward to this movie, a WWII romantic drama about spies that should be sizzling with unspoken tension, that is instead filled with dead looks from a rapidly aging leading man. [Note: I am not simply criticizing Pitt for aging, as that happens to everyone, but the fact that he seems to often be cast *for* his looks, which are no longer sufficient to overlook a poor performance.] To say he lacks emotion and range in this movie would be an understatement. I really think a cardboard cutout of his younger self may have been more effective in the role.

It's not all his fault, of course. The plot, while promising early on, fizzles about 45 minutes in when the action ceases. From there, it turns into a weird cheesy romance mixed with a poorly done spy thriller. It had potential, but never quite materialized.

It wasn't all a waste of time, however. Marion Cotillard single-handedly keeps the movie afloat, with her charming personality and her ability to keep viewers guessing as to her true motives. (For the record, I called out the ending immediately. I have to, or my husband accuses me of pretending to know.) If it hadn't been such a disappointing movie, I think she could have gotten a lot more recognition for her work.

Final word: Sometimes the awards shows get it right when they pass over movies.

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