First Hit: Although interesting and at times good, the acting and/or storyline didn’t really hold up well for the life of the film.
This WWII based film is about two agents Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) who are charged with assassinating the German Ambassador to Morocco. Although he’s Canadian and she’s European when they meet they must act like they're married and that he’s been in Paris working and is finally taking a little time off to visit his wife in Morocco. They meet for the first time in a restaurant in front of her friends and it goes off well, with everyone believing they were a couple.
The film spends a nice amount of time letting the audience see them learn about each other. They each learn about the other's skill sets including their marksmanship. Nearing the time for the party where they expect to assassinate the Ambassador, they head out to the desert. After gazing out across the massive sand dunes, back in the car they consummate their relationship with lovemaking.
I bring this up because this scene was one of the best scenes in this film and one of the best, in a car lovemaking scenes, I’ve ever witnessed. The use of a revolving camera and the wind and sand swirling around the car in an ever-rising intensity. It was very effective and it sealed their relationship.
After the job, they head to England together with plans to marry. However, there are complications and that is where the film feels a bit forced. The head of “V” tells him that they think that his wife Marianne is a spy for Germany and that she took the identity of the real Marianne Beausejour.
The remaining part of the film is about Max trying to find out if this story is true or not. In doing so he breaks military rules. There are times that following Max is enjoyable and interesting and other times where it was either overkill or I didn’t believe the character’s (and actor) actions.
Lots of the period items were wonderfully well done, but interestingly I felt that the main actor’s clothing was too well done. It had the feeling of being staged.
Pitt was good, but it was not great by any stretch. Cotillard was one of the best things about this film. She was consistently strong and created an interesting role. Steven Knight wrote a good screenplay and there was some interesting banter and dialogue between the main characters. Robert Zemeckis directed this film and it felt very old style in the way it was presented. Some of the scenes seemed a bit too staged for my liking. In the end, the film didn't seem to know what it wanted to be, was it Drama, Suspense, Thriller, Romance, or Action?
Overall: It was engaging most of the time, but quickly left my consciousness after leaving the theater.