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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Axis & Allied

It’s ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ versus Nazis with ‘Casablanca’ as the backdrop in Robert Zemeckis’s sizzling World War II spy actioner/romance ‘Allied.’  The accomplished and accessible director of such films as  ‘Back to the Future,’ ‘Forrest Gump’ and ‘Castaway’ is no stranger to pairing flirtatious male and female leads, with 1984’s ‘Romancing the Stone’ starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner among his directorial credits.
 
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard play dashing Canadian commando Max Vatan and sultry French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour, rendezvousing in Casablanca and posing as French socialites on a daring mission to assassinate the German ambassador to Morocco at a high profile Nazi party.  Their mission goes without a hitch and their budding romance soon blossoms into marriage after they returned to London, but things get a bit, ah, more complicated when Marianne is suspected of being a Nazi spy by British intelligence.  How can this be?  Please say it isn't so!
 
‘Allied’ is an action-packed and suspenseful thriller anchored by its two strong leads. The cinematography and period flavor evoke nostalgia and remind us of ‘Casablanca,’ which undoubtedly is its intent.  It is also surprisingly sexy.  There is one memorable scene inside an automobile where the raw passion and desire between Max and Marianne build up with increasing urgency, before reaching a crescendo in tune with a raging sandstorm outside.  No wonder Brangelina broke up.  Just kidding.
 
Grade: B+
 
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