'Allied' a charming movie with unexpected ending

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard at the Allied film premiere in London last night

He has 72 hours to test her, during which he employs their espionage tricks against Marianne, a duplicity that is its own kind of betrayal. This is peculiar, given that Allied was written by Steven Knight, the writer/director of Locke, which is one of the best written films of the last few years.

For the first half of "Allied", I was immersed in a taut, tense World War II thriller that played like a mash-up of "Casablanca" and "Inglourious Basterds", with Brad Pitt's Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard's French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (such names!) teaming up for an elaborate undercover mission involving a staged marriage, hot-and-heavy sex in their auto while a sandstorm whirled around them and a seriously badass takedown of a room filled with Nazis. Part of this is due to the identification with Max as the main character - Pitt plays him so steadily that he's stiff, and the performance is near wooden. If the accusation against Marianne turns out to be a case of mistaken identity, as Max believes - desperately enough, as it turns out, to put the lives of others at risk - that's the happy ending that many would crave, although it's something of a narrative dud.

During the war, men and women operatives often posed undercover as couples. Screenwriter Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises) can shove in sex scenes left and right, including one in a auto during a sandstorm, but he can't write in the heat.

"There was a brief conversation on whether we should change the city to Tangiers, so we wouldn't have to deal with the comparison", says the director. He's also the creative force behind the hugely successful "Back to the Future" films.

Their characters goes through the paces but you never get the sense that you're watching real people in extraordinarily hard circumstances until perhaps the movie's final scenes, which are played for all the emotional wallop that Zemeckis can muster at that point. The most convincing emotion in the thoroughly choreographed "Allied" is its melancholy sense of mortality. "Then, when I heard Bob Zemeckis was on board and Brad Pitt would be playing Max, it was even more exciting to me".

At least the movie starts with an interesting twist on the standard meet-cute. "For me as an actor, the complexity of the character was an fantastic playground".

London remains one of the most popular filming locations in the world, partly because of the UK's generous tax credit support for big-budget movies and high-end TV productions. "That's why I'm still alive", she replies. He has also seen her shooting a machine gun at people at a party - a party of her supposed friends.

Cotillard said: "Usually, you can have one reading, one dinner, and then you jump into the shooting of the movie". "It was a crossroads for all sorts of shady characters with all these unusual alliances", says the director. The film's focus on character development and tone makes it feel, satisfyingly, like a movie we'd watch late at night on Turner Classic Movies.

Working with Zemeckis was another dream for the actress. "And I thought, 'This is going to be really great.' I was very excited".

Cotillard, who is pregnant with her second child with partner Guillaume Canet, was previously forced to shoot down rumours that she had any involvement in Pitt's impending divorce from Angelina Jolie. In "Allied", he arranges them like bookends, staging a sumptuous sex scene in a sand storm and the birth, nine months later, amid bombs.

The actress, who worked on five films over the past year and will be seen in December's "Assassin's Creed", is planning to take time off for her pregnancy. "So I would be a awful spy". "I was very honest with him".

"It is a World War Two movie you, after all, so you've got have some of that", says Zemeckis.

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