Friday, 9 December 2016
124 Minutes. Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Simon McBurney & Lizzy Caplan. Director: Robert Zemeckis.
Scalping Nazis seems to be Brad Pitt's job these days. He rocked a maverick moustache like Sweeny Todd's barber chair and got what he wanted as he performed haircuts on the Third Reich with Quentin Tarantino as an 'Inglorious Basterd'. Then he gave himself a short back and sides with his tanked up suicide squad of Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Michael Pena and Logan Lerman for David Ayer's 'Fury'. But what happens in the mist of a world war when even the woman you love is not all she seems too? No we're not talking about the huge Hollywood stars press puncuated personal life powered by rumors of the on-screen alliance here, which we will keep what it should have always remained...private. But the French leading lady Marion Cotillard of 'Macbeth' acting standards' character. But is she an actor? Is she even French? A German spy surely not? Or is she really 'Allied'? That's what you'll be left asking all the way through this refreshingly unpredicatble movie, before Tom Hanks' best 'Forrest Gump' and 'Cast Away' director Robert Zemeckis answers as he takes flight on a third act even more terrifically taught and tense than the time he put Joseph Gordon-Levitt's French trapeze artist on a wire hung between the two towers of the World Trade Center and let him walk. This thrilling red line is even thinner. Pitt's soldiers love life is facing an apocalypse right now.
Brad's third World War II film is just as brilliant as it is different than the first individual two. Showing that it doesn't matter how this unbelievably middle-age pin-up looks (scraggled facial-hair like he's just spent 'Seven Years In Tibet' or the dapper dan 'Captain America' look of this forties classic that socks it to Hitler) he still has the Academy substance over the gorgeous Gentelmans Quarterly style alongside a Chanel advert model just as beautiful and talented. Because critics or maybe 'Team Angelina's' have been calling this like they saw Jolie's 'Tourist' escapade with Johnny Depp back in Rome. All Tom Ford, but no 'Nocturnal Animals'. But just like that was a criminally underrated throwback crime caper classic to the Cary Grant era this is an old boys Hollywoodland tour de force that Clark Gable would be proud of or the future hall of filmography fame of Pitt's will be when it's all said and looked back on. This is as monumental as friends George Clooney and Matt Damon's 'Ocean Eleven' like 'Monuments Men' team-up that Brad missed the boat for and the actual true soulful story in the name of art that inspired it. And critics called old father time on that one too...and Bill Murray, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett were in it to boot. Brad Pitt shows here with duty and diligance to both country and family that he is a classic leading man for any ages and just like his vast but still crazily so underrated filmography for a superstar of his magnitude (take 'Legends Of The Fall', 'A River Runs Through It', 'Twelve Monkeys', '12 Years A Slave', 'The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button', 'The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford', 'Moneyball' and most recently 'The Big Short' for your next DVD night starters), timeless. World War 2 or 'World War Z'.
Pitted against it all-even his own squadron-Brad brings back that furiously forceful 'Fury' action acting as he single-handlely takes out a tank of German soldiers armed with a pin and a good right arm (he even dispatches a soldier with a biscotti before his coffee loses its crema), before exploding into that epic emotional 'Se7en' like acting that is anything but a sin, but draws on all of them. 'La Vie En Rose' star Marion Cotillard is anything but rusty here either being the bones of this picture by bringing forth all her previous body of work. The French actress really is a classic, throwback Hollywood starlet like 'The Artist' in this grey area tale that is more than shades of black and white. Perfectly paired alongside Pitt but against our theories or doubts she plays the 'whose that girl' role to a tee. Remember Fassbenders forthcoming 'Assassins Creed' co-star was the master manipulator as his lady in 'Macbeth'. No wonder revolutionary director Christopher Nolan tapped up her side switching enigmatic talents twice for 'Inception' and 'The Dark Knight Rises'. Here in a classic cast she is the only one who can get close to Pitt. Including an underused but still utilized Lizzy Caplan as his on-screen sister, coming off the 'Masters Of Sex' and some nice trick treats for the 'Now You See Me' sequel. Allied almost against him in command are two actors with that range of a performance. Stealing the one scene he's in like he owns the movie, Simon McBurney puts the fear of God by death into Brad Pitt like he did Denzel Washington's 'Manchurian Candidate' as a demon doctor with devastating side effects and repurcussions. But it's Sherlock Holmes' Moriarty that really takes us over the edge. But the just great Jared Harris had never been better, even if the last time he was next to one of Brad Pitt's curious character he was looking completely different at sea too. With changing tides coming to our shores, director Zemeckis looks to navigate a picture that will sail as good as 'Forest Gump', no cast away flight. Offering to light the ladies cigarette first he scratches the surface of this book of matches before building up this slow burners ratchet tension. Like the plummeting plane gliding down the most amazing aerial assualt of siren piercing realism ever seen on screen slowly but sinisterly. All the way until everything comes crashing down around us and we get the answer to why we're shedding tears, whether they be in relief of joy or perplexed pain. This is just what makes this traditional tone and texture movie from the classic cinematic start setting in Casablanca of all places so darn good for the duration. As you wonder which side everyone is on in this love and war were all is not fair. No matter your ally. TIM DAVID HARVEY.