This movie was supposed to have everything you’d expect a successful blockbuster to have. It’s got A+ list actors, WW2 setting, spys, lots of action, but most importantly Brad Pitt in a tuxedo holding a machine gun. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe the writers thought audiences needed a simple movie. Maybe my squeaky chair tainted my experience. Or maybe the movie sucked.
I’m thinking it just sucked.
The writers and director somehow made the whole first half of the movie seem rushed but at the same time take FOREVER. It dragged through coy foreplay, spies being shady spies together, and a guy (Pitt) who was acting like a guy who hated parties and people and talking but for some reason was adored by a woman who was the legitimate life of every party shes ever been to ever.. I will forever reference this movie when I talk about poor character development.
When you market a movie as a “is she or isn’t she a traitor spy” type of deal, you have the expectation, nay, responsibility to attempt some sort of big reveal or at least mask the truth for 80% of the movie. There were 2 dead giveaways before we even made it halfway through.. First big moment was the German Ambassador kill scene, the scene that was the climax of their joint spy/assassin venture that resulted in their unconditional love for each other. I had some pretty big issues with it. They go to this party to kill a Nazi ambassador. There’s going to be 2 machine guns taped under the punch bowl table (really? why, and how do they get there).The whole movie gets blown to pieces during this scene, because she (Marion Cotillard) shoots the ceiling and walls a lot. We already know from an earlier scene that she is a certified marksman and quick shot, so her not killing every German officer in the room is a huge red flag. Also in their getaway they are followed by approximately ZERO Nazis. I’m no history major, but I’m pretty sure the Nazis weren’t pushovers. So to recap that scene: Guns magically taped under a table at a super-secure function, she makes very little effort to land a shot in a Nazi body, and nobody chases them when they flee. Verdict- she’s clearly in on this somehow. The second big giveaway was during the birth of their child in an air raid on the street outside the hospital (dramatic much?) She looks at Brad Pitt and says something like “This is really me, and I want you to know I love you”.. Oh OK. She’s definitely not saying “Hey I’ve pretended to be someone else for a really really long time but I want you to know that I, as an actual person, really love you k thanks”. Verdict- the writers hate writing.
Earlier I said it sucked, I want to pump the brakes on that a bit because it wasn’t an AWFUL movie, it just wasn’t good. What makes it so frustrating is it could have been a much better movie if they just told the right story. You have 2 options.
Option A, the Guy’s point of view– Guy goes to Casablanca to kill a Nazi ambassador, falls in love with the French spy he’s working with. Gets married, takes a desk job, and has a kid. Told one day his wife might be a German spy, spends weekend trying to figure it out. She is a spy. She kills herself.
Option B, the Girl’s point of view– German spy posing as a dead French spy seduces Brad Pitt and helps him kill a German ambassador who Hitler already wanted killed. She gets in too deep and runs away with Pitt falling in love and getting married. She thinks she’s safe living in London and hopes her former German agency doesnt find her but whoops they do! They hold the life of her newborn child hostage in return for her leaking whatever information she can get from her oblivious husband who now conveniently works at an information desk. Things are going well until the husband acts strange one day and its clear her cover is blown. She kills herself to spare her husband from having to commit the act or face treason if he refused. The end.
I think we all can agree Option B was the correct answer.
Overall Grade- 65%
PS- the fact that Brad Pitt served for the Canadian military was a WILD and meaningless designation that only made me think “why isn’t he american” whenever in uniform. Unless this is a true story, which it isn’t, just make him from the good ol’ USA and save yourselves a lot of trouble.