Allied
Paramount // R // $26.58 // February 28, 2017
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted March 8, 2017
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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Allied Blu-ray Review

Allied is a period romantic-thriller from acclaimed filmmaker Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, The Polar Express). The film was produced by Robert Zemeckis, Graham King, and Steve Starkey. Set during World War II and starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, Allied is a must-see feature.

The story takes place in the early 1940's. World War II is underway. Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), who works as a Canadian intelligence officer, is sent on a secret mission that involves fighting the Nazi's. Occurring outside of Casablanca, Max goes up against the Nazi party alongside a member of the French resistance: Marianne (Marion Cotillard). The two work together, pretending to be a married couple as they go on their secret mission.

Yet the pair quickly start to become enamored with each other while on the mission. It isn't long before they fall in love. When the mission is complete, they start a family together. Yet when Max is brought news by his superior officer Frank Heslop (Jared Harris) that Marianne might actually be a French spy working with the Nazi party things become complicated between the two: Max must try and prove Marianne's innocence and he sets out to save his family.

The film is immaculately produced on virtually every level of production. This is a breathtaking film with great production design by Gary Freeman (Everest, Maleficent). The sets are stunning with great work done by all involved. They effectively recreate the time with the backdrop of WWII. The cinematography by longtime Zemeckis collaborator Don Burgess (Forrest Gump, Spider-Man) is beautiful to behold. This is a lovely looking film: every frame looks stunning.

The music score was composed by the great Alan Silvestri (Back to the Future, Castaway, The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger). Silvestri has had a long history of composing the music for the films of Zemeckis and their wonderful cinematic legacy of working together continues with this effort. The music in the film is quite good with excellent use of jazz for certain segments while having a more upbeat score for the action and dramatic sequences.

The costume designs by Joanna Johnston (Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, The Sixth Sense, Lincoln) are some of the best to be featured in any film produced this past year with a vast array of beautifully designed gowns for Marion Cotillard to wear and luxurious suits and casual wear for Brad Pitt. The outfits fit the time-period with perfect grace and style: Johnston's effort brings to mind classic Hollywood in a way that just isn't seen as much these days. A brilliant effort on her part.  

Allied also has some of the best special effects and visualization work done in a period drama to date. Though the film often feels organic and natural, many scenes utilized cutting-edge special effects to compliment scenes. Zemeckis is a true master of understanding how to work with special effects artists and the quality of the work demonstrated here is a true joy to behold.

The screenplay was written by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things, Locke). Knight gives the film a remarkable story that is enthralling and entertaining from beginning to end. Though the film is partly a suspense-thriller at its core it's a love story. A beautifully told love story is at the center of what the film is all about and that aspect elevates the film to even greater heights.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Contact), Allied is another exemplary work of cinema from one of America's greatest filmmakers. Zemeckis's efforts are so fine-tuned and impressive that he almost makes it look easy. He's one of the best filmmakers in the entire industry and this is another excellent film from the master director. Allied is a strong WWII picture and one that any Zemeckis fan should strongly consider a must-see event.

The Blu-ray:


Video:

Allied arrives on Blu-ray from Paramount with a stunning 1080p high definition presentation in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. This MPEG-4 AVC presentation has a strong  bit-rate and is a quality encode with great color reproduction, depth, and overall clarity. It's a beautiful looking film with an equally beautiful presentation. This is a first-rate transfer which will please fans of the film.

Audio:

The audio is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. This is a strong 24 bit lossless audio presentation which preserves the quality sound design and the score music by Alan Silvestri. The music sounds terrific on the release and has a beautiful, jazzy sound. The soundstage is big with great action sequences that have an enveloping presentation.

Subtitles are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing), French, and Spanish.


Extras:

Please Note: This is a Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack release.

Story of Allied (5 min., HD) features interviews with director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Steven Knight about the storytelling of the film.

From Stages to Sahara: The Production Design of Allied (10 min., HD) explores the elaborate production design crafted for Allied.

Through the Lens: Directing with Robert Zemeckis (9 min., HD) features Zemeckis and other cast and crew members discussing the director's approach.

A Stitch in Time: The Costumes of Allied (9 min., HD) features costume designer Joanna Johnston as she discusses her work and showcases design sketches for the film.

'Til Death Do Us Part: Max and Marianne (6 min., HD) centers upon the romantic love story between the lead characters.

Guys and Gals: The Ensemble Cast (5 min., HD) focuses on the great supporting performances.

Lights, Pixels, Action: The Visual Effects of Allied (10 min., HD) is all about the excellent visual effects work done throughout the film.

Behind the Wheel: The Vehicles of Allied (4 min., HD) showcases the impressive vehicles which were featured in Allied.

Locked and Loaded: The Weapons of Allied (4 min., HD) is about the weaponry that is used in telling the story.

That Swingin' Sound: The Music of Allied (7 min., HD) features composer Alan Silvestri and director Robert Zemeckis discussing the music of Allied and their long collaboration in film together.

Final Thoughts:

Allied is one of the best films of the year. It's a great action-thriller with a romantic heart. The performances by stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard are excellent. Superbly directed by Robert Zemeckis, Allied is a must-see motion-picture that is a slickly produced throwback to classic-era Hollywood productions but with a modern-sensibility and cutting-edge special effects. It's a high quality WWII film with a great story to tell.

Highly Recommended.



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