'Allied' Review: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard's Thriller Is 'Nearly Perfect'

Get the details of this "throwback" movie.

Rated R

Four-and-a-half out of five stars

Brad Pitt has been a movie star for a long time, but it’s been a while since he’s been in a movie in which he seemed like one of the world’s greatest leading men.

Let me tell you about "Allied."

Their mission is to assassinate a local Nazi official, and the steps they take to accomplish it are thrilling. Max and Marianne’s romance is equally as thrilling -- mesmerizing and smoldering, so much so it burns itself somewhere into your medial temporal lobe, there for you to recall until your dying day.

Marianne and Max fall deeply in love. Or do they?

The first act of "Allied" is so well-executed, it has enough suspense and conflict for an entire film. Max and Marianne move to London, which is under constant threat of air raids, get married and have a baby. All is well, or as well as it can be in wartime, until Max is called into work, under the guise he’s getting a promotion.

Instead, Max is told Marianne is a Nazi spy. His job is to help set a trap to ferret her out. And if it turns out she is a spy, he’s instructed to kill her. Otherwise, he’ll be considered a co-conspirator and traitor, and both he and Marianne will be executed. Which is somewhat less appealing than his and hers bath towels.

Under Zemeckis’ guidance, "Allied" is fraught with tension and romance, as unpredictable and gut-wrenching as it is gorgeous. And it is gorgeous.

We have plenty of movie stars, but it’s become a rare occurrence to watch a movie and feel like you’re actually watching movie stars. "Allied" is a throwback, not only because it harkens back to some of the great espionage thrillers of decades past, but because with Pitt and Cotillard, you feel like you’re watching true movie stars, the kind you’d see on an old-school, black-and-white newsreel, walking the red carpet at "Allied"'s gala world premiere at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, replete with searchlights and a vintage radio announcer describing the glamorous scene.

"Allied" is nearly perfect.