It’s a terribly developed and directed film that unabashedly wastes precious talent and resources on an inherently flawed project. The World War II romantic drama is obviously sold to top line stars on the strength of its one line idea that’s as predictable, exciting, and intriguing as a loaf of dried up stale English bread that cannot be softened even after a dip in a cup of English breakfast tea.
It’s 1942. World War II is on. Royal Canadian Air Force intelligence officer Max Watan (Brad Pitt) is airdropped deep into French Morocco. His mission is to reach Casablanca, co-ordinate with the French resistance forces and assassinate the German Ambassador. He has to meet the French resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), pose as her husband, and execute the plot during a party in which the Ambassador was to be present. They perform the job with clockwork precision and also get out of Casablanca in time. However, they have fallen in love. This leads to their wedding in London and birth of a girl child right in the middle of the street amidst German bombing raids over London. Max Watan is now a squadron leader and amidst constant war duty he always finds time for his family and assures Marianne that her country (France) will be liberated soon as the D Day is approaching. However, the story takes a sudden turn as the British intelligence suspects his wife is source of vital information leak to the Germans and she is not what she claims to be. She is not even Marianne Beausejour, who died a long ago. This brings in great turmoil in Max’s life. He does not believe it and decides to investigate the matter on his own despite having been told not to do so. This complicates the matter. Is Marianne actually a German plant?
The film neither works as a passionate romantic tragedy nor a spy thriller nor a war drama. It ends quite predictably. The strange awkward look on Brat Pitt’s face somehow puts you off. One does not know why is he doing what he is doing. It looks more like some kind of a stylized cinema than a straightforward full-blooded war and romance film. Marion Cotillard has very little to do in it and though the writer Steven Knight and director Robert Zemeckis have tried to create some mystery around her, it does not work. Brad Pitt and Cotillard, both, are wasted.
One also has a feeling that the filmmakers were working under severe budget constraints. The film and performances look stagy and unreal. The screenplay is totally contrived and listless and has no inspiring moments. It’s a tired effort.