Running time: 2 hour 4 minutes
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Matthew Goode
Spoiler alert in effect.
I remember watching the trailer some time back and getting pretty hyped up about it, because the story sounded promising and I loved the look and time period. I finally watched it a few weeks ago in the cinemas and to be honest, I’m somewhat disappointed by it. It was good, but not something you need to watch in the cinema.
Before I get into it, there’s a couple of things in its favour. The cinematography was great, opening with a sweeping shot of the desert in Morocco where Brad Pitt (and his shaven face) parachutes down. The costuming and set design were equally fantastic, being set in French Morocco, and later, London, all amidst the backdrop of World War 2. But the actual story felt lacking and at times, unrealistic. Why didn’t Max just write a false message on the note he left for Marianne? Or actually, why bother writing the message at all? How would the Special Ops team know if he did or didn’t write the message? Unless of course Max really did have his suspicions with Marianne, in which case there might still have been better ways to investigate on his own, without alerting the English. By the time he finally found out she was a German spy, the Special Ops knew as well, which led to an unnecessarily dramatic ending, whereby Marianne shoots herself. But hey, I’m no expert in history or WWII, so maybe there’s something I don’t understand about that time period and maybe the plot makes perfect sense. In my opinion, I felt it was just too long and there were parts where I just zoned out.
In terms of the acting, it was good. Brad and Marion both held their own as the lead characters. It’s clear they can both act well. But I didn’t really feel the chemistry between them, or felt invested enough in their relationship to feel truly sad at the end. I also didn’t really care that she was a German spy. The tension fizzled out because it felt like such a drawn out process, that I was relieved to find out she’s in fact a spy and get it over with. That might be more to do with the dialogue and pacing, rather than with the acting itself I suspect.
It sounds like I’m being overly critical of it, but maybe it’s because I was bombarded with trailers and TV spots months in advance, so I had high expectations of what I thought would be an epic, tense, spy-drama with A-list actors. I mean, I still enjoyed it and there were definitely some awesome actions sequences with gunfights and bombings, along with intimate, emotional scenes. But there just wasn’t enough quality to save the film for me.
So overall, worth watching if you’re really into WWII period dramas, or you love Brad Pitt (because he does look great in this film!). But otherwise, just wait for the DVD to come out before you watch it.