Set against the backdrop of WWII, Allied follows Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and French resistance fighter Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard) as they fall in love during a top-secret mission and subsequently attempt to start their lives in England. Director Robert Zemeckis, working from Steven Knight’s screenplay, has infused Allied with an almost excessively deliberate sensibility that is, to put it mildly, off-putting, as the filmmaker delivers a first half that moves at a glacial pace and dwells far too often on less-than-engrossing elements (ie there’s a heavy emphasis on Max and Marianne’s efforts at acclimatizing themselves to their mission and to each other). The underwhelming atmosphere is compounded by a palpable lack of chemistry between the two leads, and it is, as such, virtually impossible to work up any real interest in or enthusiasm for the characters’ ongoing exploits. (There’s little doubt, too, that Pitt’s incongruously stiff performance doesn’t help matters.) Allied remains pitched at a level of uninvolving mediocrity right up until around the halfway mark, with the inclusion of an admittedly effective (and surprising) plot twist paving the way for a second half that is, at the very least, watchable (although Zemeckis’ inexplicably muted approach to the material results in a distinct absence of thrills). And while the movie closes with a somewhat tense final stretch, particularly when compared to the listlessness of everything preceding it, Allied ultimately comes off as a barely-passable wartime drama that’s a far cry from the urgent, exciting endeavors of Zemeckis’ early career.

**1/2 out of ****

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