Any wartime film usually has me on edge, although historic accuracy is usually played around with, you know that Nazi’s were real and most likely did a lost worse than what’s allowed to be shown in the cinema. Brad Pitt plays wing commander Max Vatan who teams up with Marion Cotillard as Marian Beauséjour behind enemy lines in Casablanca pretending to be a happily married PARISIAN couple…. Pitt’s accent was decent but I’m sure in real life it would have exposed him instantly but then there would be no film! Obviously during World War 2 everyone was stationed all over the place but to play apart in a French resistance group to assassinate a German behind enemy lines surely you would want an actual French man… just in case?
No disrespect for the actors who are cast as Nazi’s but they look SO evil and perfect for the role. August Diehl who also appears in Inglourious Basterds alongside Pitt plays Hobar a Nazi official who tests Marian and Max during a meeting to see if Max is worthy of an invitation to an event that their planned assassination is taking place, obviously Hobar has no idea of this plan. The scene is so simple yet terrifying because they are under pressure constantly being tested and questioned.
The first half of the film you see them staging their marriage in order to convince those behind enemy lines they are who they say they are. Eventually they fall in love however I wasn’t completely convinced and I think this was intentional. Most critics have slammed the chemistry between the pair but I think they wanted you to always be suspicious of Marian as Max’s wife. The film skips through time transporting us to one year later where they’ve got a daughter and it’s all cute then BAM. Max is called to work and they tell him the worst news possible that his wife could be a German spy.
Although it’s fictional, spy’s were very present in the Second World War and that’s what makes the story so intense because like I said before this shit did happen. The build up of tension between the pair is intense and you can see the strain Pitt’s character goes through as he might be sleeping with the enemy… (who also birthed his child during an air raid with siren’s screaming and bricks flying everywhere sooooo if she is a spy she really is doing the most for Germany!) Pitt fits the era so perfectly and I love war films that focus on more than just explosions and the literal horror of war.
Director Robert Zemeckis who brought us Forrest Gump and Back to the Future really sets up an exciting thriller that leaves you confused at all costs. They give you enough information to believe Marian is and isn’t a German spy. The sound editors also ruined my ears, though the film hardly has any major action scenes some might of anticipated it to have, the cross over to different scenes really wakes you up.
It’s the first time I’ve felt that a film ended well and didn’t stray for any cinematic purposes but for the story and characters. ALSO JANICE IAN…DYKE. If you know you know but she makes an appearance as Pitt’s on screen sister and actually loves girls this time AND she looks so good. No spoilers you’ll have to go and find out what happens but I have no idea why the film hasn’t been received as well because I thought it was amazing and exciting!