After his detour into motion-capture animation during the 2000s, Robert Zemeckis has returned to live-action filmmaking this decade to strong results. In 2012, his drama Flight was a critical and commercial success, grossing $161.7 million worldwide and earning a Best Actor nomination for Denzel Washington. Last year, Zemeckis’ The Walk couldn’t repeat those box office figures, but still was well-received and another illustration of his strong technical prowess behind the camera. The director is back again this fall with Allied, a romantic thriller set in World War II.
The film, which stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, revolves around the relationship that forms between intelligence officer Max Vatan (Pitt) and French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard) during the conflict. Distributor Paramount kicked off the marketing campaign last month with a short teaser trailer, and now the studio is peeling back more layers of the story in a TV spot. You can watch it above.
This preview does an excellent job of setting up the bare bones of the narrative (arguably, better than the theatrical trailer). From the footage, viewers can tell that Max and Marianne fight together during the war, fall in love, and eventually start a family. They plan on moving to London when it’s all over and lead a peaceful life. However, Max is thrown for a loop when he receives word that the Allies have decoded enemy traffic (communications) that concerns Marianne. As one of Vatan’s commanding officers says, “There’s no easy way to say what we’re about to say,” moviegoers can only assume the worst. Marianne could be affiliated with the Nazis and working as an undercover agent.
World War II is obviously a period of history that has been detailed in a plethora of feature films, but this story still sounds highly intriguing. Writer Steven Knight has delivered compelling drama in the past with Eastern Promises, Locke, and Peaky Blinders, so the hope is that Allied can be another engaging project of his. Judging by the visuals, Zemeckis has a strong hold on the material, and this film should be another impressive work (on a technical level, at the very least) on his résumé. An intimate story between two characters is told on a grand, epic canvas, and there’s plenty of star power to boot.
Cinephiles are aware that we’re in the thick of awards season, and Allied has all the makings of an Academy darling on-paper. That said, the pre-release buzz surrounding the film has been subdued compared to some of the other contenders, but that could be because Allied did not screen at any of the early fall festivals. Paramount has a lot on their plate this Oscars with other prestige offerings like Arrival and Fences, so it will be interesting to see how the studio handles their campaigning moving forward. World War II typically does well on the awards circuit, meaning Allied might be one to keep an eye out for.
Even if it comes up short in terms of nominations, Allied is shaping up to be another fascinating film in a fall season full of potential hits. World War II continues to be a point of interest amongst moviegoers, with recent movies such as The Imitation Game and Fury (which also starred Pitt) posting high numbers at the box office. As Paramount revs up the advertising, awareness for Allied will rise and it looks like something moviegoers won’t want to miss.
Allied opens in U.S. theaters November 23, 2016.