The sun is rising as Brad Pitt’s legs enter frame, parachuting into French Morocco, 1942.
He starts walking, with a nod to Lawrence of Arabia, a scarf wrapped around his head to guard against the heat and sand.
He is en route to meet a fellow spy to carry out an act of espionage against the German army in Casablanca. His partner in intelligence -Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) becomes his partner in life and they settle down and start a family in England, but can she be trusted or is she in fact a double agent? It is a fantastic premise and one which will keep you guessing until the very last frame.
Director Robert Zemeckis (Back To The Future, Forrest Gump, Flight) eschews (for the most part) his love of SFX, and instead focuses on the chemistry of his two leads, and your enjoyment of this film will come down to how much you believe Pitt and Cotillard as on-screen lovers.
Their performances are solid and every aspect of the film is first class, but in spite of this, I did find myself drifting in and out of the story at certain points that did not seem believable. In one such instance, Cotillard gives birth in the ruins of a London hospital in the middle of an air raid, and that scene felt a step too far fetched for the tone of most of the film.
If you like looking at extremely handsome people for a couple of hours, and care to be swept up in a romance set in WW2, then this will tick both boxes.
Considering speculation surrounding the couple’s on screen relationship being responsible for the break up of the Pitt/Jolie marriage, I think I was expecting more spark. With both characters maintaining an icy exterior due to the serious nature of their serious profession as spies, I did not get a sense of genuine warmth from watching their relationship develop.
Sure, they are gorgeous, glamorous actors, but having met Cotillard and getting a cool impression from her, they are both just a little inaccessible and this impacted my ability to believe them being lovers and a partnership.
All in all though, a genuinely enjoyable and mainly engaging WW2 thriller love story that will satisfy most cravings for this kind of affair.
3 & 1/2 Stars.