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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Blessed is the man with low expectations
For he will not be disappointed.

Allied (2016) on IMDb

Plot Overview

The sound of a distant plane's engine encroaches on the silence, and a lone parachutist alights softly in the remote desert, backlit by a rising sun. French Morocco, 1942. Commander and intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) rendez­vouses with his contact to pick up his spy matériel, and to get briefed on his spy "wife" awaiting him at a party in Casa­blanca. She'll be wearing a purple dress. “Look for the humming­bird” (“Cherchez la colibri”), his contact tells him. Reminds one of the expression used by French law enforcement: “Cherchez la femme” (“Look for the woman”), doesn't it?

There's more than one woman in purple there, but behind a hummingbird banner he sidles up to his French resistance "wife" Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard.) She's got ‘honey trap’ written all over her. In this character-driven plot, here's a woman who is “beautiful ... and good,” and with­out scruples (“Being good at this kind of work is not very beautiful.”) She's a master of deception (“I'm very good at pretending.”) She's “the life of the party” and completely at ease with men. In my opinion her talent is utterly wasted providing cover for a routine assassination. One would expect her to bait a honey trap, instead. Oh, well.

There's an adage what says if you come upon a sting and you're unable to discern who the target is, then likely it's you. Max, we gradually discover, has trouble with female intimacy. His one forward move in an apartment with a beautiful woman at night is to offer to take the couch. He's at sea on the roof when he's supposed to engage in a post­coital tête-à-tête; his inexperience shows. He doesn't like parties … except for playing poker with his buddies, and he wasn't close to his mom. His sister from the same dysfunctional family is a Lesbian. You know the song, “How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?” No problem with Max; his dream after the war is to move to Medicine Hat in the western U.S. and raise horses. Intimacy with men, though, is not a problem for him. Witness his intimate fighting: the way he throttles a German in a close space, and also ministers the coup de grace to others inside an armored troop carrier. Back in London high value intelligence crosses his desk every day, and he's not so careful about keeping it from his family. It's like he has a target painted across his back to spring a honey trap on him.

Against all odds Max and Marianne get married for real in London, and they start a family during wartime. His superior Frank advises him, “Marriages made in the field never work.” V Section advises, “We believe your wife is a double agent.” They're going to run a “standard blue dye procedure to find out.” If in fact she is, there's a "routine" procedure for him to follow. Routine in war time, but it would make the news in peace. Mean­while, Max has his own resources to consult, and we're with him all the way, because he and his wife are manifestly in love (“Je t'aime”) to the envy of everyone else


Anthropologist Desmond Morris—best known for his book, The Naked Ape—writes of human sexual relations: (247)
The [sexual] preliminaries provide time for careful judgments to be made, judgments that may be hard to form once the massive, shared emotional impact of double orgasm has been experienced. This powerful moment can act as such a tight ‘bonder’ that it may well tie together two people quite unsuited to each other, if they have not spent sufficient time exploring each other's personalities during the sexual preliminaries.

In this case Max was curious about the background of Marianne (“What went wrong in Paris? Your entire cell was taken out”) until she initiated making love in a parked car. That bonded him to her, and he couldn't see past it (“There's a thing called the soul. I've looked into her soul.”) Symbolically, his blindness was represented by a blinding sand­storm that covered the car during their act of love. He didn't bother to check with any­body from her actual past to make sure she wasn't a ringer.

In their party at their house in London, couples were pairing off right and left, and we could use the familiar myth of Cupid loosing his arrows at them. In the back­ground was an air raid bombing of another part of the city, the German bombers being targeted by AAA fire (“Look, we got one!”) These two symbolic schemes can be matched to the biblical, (Eccl. 11:3) “If the clouds be full of rain, they empty them­selves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” That is, some­thing internal happens: the arrow piercing the heart, the shells piercing the bomber, or the moisture condensing within the cloud. The rain then comes down, loosening the soil, and the tree topples over and there it lay. This internal emotional reaction of falling in love results in a change of the land­scape after one has fallen. In this case the loving couple are raising their girl baby, and that's how it is. The fallen bomber gets covered by the British flag, but it's still got Nazi markings underneath.

(Eccl. 11:4) “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” The guy who gets himself into a predicament and then tries to work it out with his head in the clouds is not going to be following through on his earthly duties, where the plow meets the clod. In the case of Max the pilot, it's a great temptation to just take off into the wild blue yonder and get above it all in the clouds, although whether that solves his earthly woes is doubtful.

Production Values

This film, “” (2016) was directed by Robert Zemeckis. Its screenplay was written by Steven Knight. It stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard who both delivered out­standing perform­ances, although Brad Pitt was contra-cast as inexperienced with women.

MPAA rated it R for violence, some sexuality/nudity, language and brief drug use. It was filmed in the UK, in English with subtitles for the French and German when needed. Benny Goodman's jazz hit, “Sing, Sing, Sing” (With a Swing)—Written by Louis Prima—livened up the movie in places. Elegant costumes (by Joanna Johnston) and excellent production design (Gary Freeman) brought us back to the '40s. Beautiful cinema­tog­raphy as well as a plethora of telling symbols rounded it all out.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

It was a little too much gloss and not enough grit for my taste. Otherwise it's a winner. Stays on track with romance in a war-torn moment of history. Keeps one in suspense.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Morris, Desmond. Manwatching. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1977. Print.