Two Allied Spies fall in love while on a mission, but it turns out one of them may be working for the other side. If proven to be a Nazi spy, will the other do their duty and taken them out?
There are a lot of war-time and spy films out today. Blending the two isn’t anything new, but adding a love story makes it that much more interesting. Max (Brad Pitt) and Marianne (Marion Cotillard) are two Allied spies who meet for the first time on a mission in Casablanca. There, the two must pretend they are madly in love. Both spies are very good at what they do, and have the ability to fool everyone around them. They’re careful, smart, and extremely convincing. Pretending to love is easy for Marianne, as she always makes the emotions real. That way no one can tell she’s a fraud. Max is quiet, confident and a very snappy dresser. They both speak multiple languages too. This power-couple pulls off the perfect front and gain access to the very party they wish to assassinate someone. It practically goes without a hitch. After the rush of chaos comes to a close, the two realize they have something more for one another. They are truly in love. It’s a beautiful splendor most of Max’s co-workers can’t stand. He’s madly in love, and it seems she’s the same. They quickly marry and have a child soon after. It seems like they are on their way to the perfect life they’ve always dreamed about. Then Max gets some incredibly haunting news. His superiors have a strange feeling Marianne isn’t who she says she is. She may be a Nazi spy!
At first Max doesn’t believe it. The idea that his wife and mother of his child could be a Nazi spy this entire time seems ludicrous. Nevertheless, they require him to take down some false Top Secret info to see if she passes it on to a Nazi cell. If the false operation details come across the wire, it’s lights out for Marianne. Worst yet, Max is instructed to kill her himself, or else face getting arrested for aiding and abetting a treasonous person. Still, Max is in disbelief. There’s no way she could have committed herself like this, right? But wait, she always said she’s extremely thorough. She even makes the emotions real… But this extreme?
If Marianne is discovered to be a Nazi spy, can Max do his diligence and kill his wife and mother of their child? You’ll have to tune in to find out!
Enough about that…Lets see what all this Blu-ray has to offer!
The menu design consists of a static image of Max and Marianne holding hands in front of an explosion. The menu options are listed along the bottom of the screen, and include: Play, Settings, Scenes, and Extras. The ‘Settings’ option allows viewers to choose the audio and subtitle tracks for the film. The ‘Audio’ tracks Include: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Audio Description. The ‘Subtitle’ options consist of the same languages. The ‘Scenes’ option displays five chapters at a time. Each one is numbered and includes a snapshot from the scene. Bookmarks can be accessed from here as well.
Now let’s take a look at the extras included with this release.
– Story of Allied (5:13 HD): This brief clip consists of the Writers, Producers, Director, and more who give their insight on why they wanted to do this film. It had to do with an excellent script that they couldn’t put down.
– From Stage to the Sahara: The Production Design of Allied (10:10 HD): This is a great behind-the-scenes feature that shows viewers how the movie magic was made. Most of the scenes in this film took place on a well-design set. The fronts of the buildings were built, but the backdrops were mostly blue and green screen with set-extensions. Some of the sets, like Casablanca, were massive and glamorous. All of the sets were beautiful, and added a lot of realism to the scenes. The actors even said they even had the smells associated with the sets to complete the illusion. That’s quite impressive.
– Through the Lens: Directing with Robert Zemeckis (8:49 HD): Needless to say, Robert Zemeckis has created some of the most memorable films in the past few decades. The Back to the Future Trilogy, Forrest Gump, and Castaway are just a few. Allied is unlike any of those films, and was a first for Zemeckis. He always wanted to do a World War II film, and this was his chance. It just happened to be a very compelling love story at the same time. The cast and crew take turns mentioning how great it was to work with Robert in Allied. In short, he’s a genius!
– A Stitch in Time: The Costumes of Allied (8:40 HD): Costumes can contribute a great deal to a story. This is especially true for a period piece. In this feature, viewers get an in-depth look at the decisions behind the iconic looks seen in the film from the designer herself.
– ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Max and Marianne (5:52 HD): The question viewers ask themselves throughout this film is whether or not the love between Max and Marianne is true. It seems that way, but with the double-agent aspect of the story we can never be sure. This feature takes a closer look at the loving relationship between Max and Marianne.
– Guys and Gals: The Ensemble Cast (5:22 HD): Casting is one of the main components that can create a solid film. There’s also the script, editing, and even audio; yet casting is on another level. If the characters are believable, so can be the story we see unfolding on the screen. This feature takes a closer look at how the casting choices were made, and the stellar performances they brought to the big screen.
– Lights, Pixels, ACTION!: The Visual Effects of Allied (9:33 HD): This feature takes a look at the visual effects used in the film. There’s a lot of blue screen used, and it allowed for some amazing set extensions. While some viewers may take notice of these computer generated scenes, it added a lot of emotions and realism to the story. They did a fantastic job bringing the illusion to life.
– Behind the Wheel: The Vehicles of Allied (3:30 HD): One of the more practical set pieces were the vehicles seen in the film. The old cars, trucks, and even aircraft provided a great sense of realism to the time portrayed. The crew were able to get access to several cars from that era that fit the story and the characters that drove them.
– Locked and Loaded: The Weapons of Allied (3:35 HD): There aren’t a great deal of weapons seen in the film, but the ones that are had to look the part. They actually used the real weapons of the era, and props for scenes where they had to drop them. The actors also underwent training before the shooting of the film.
– That Swinging Sound: The Music of Allied (7:06 HD): In any big picture such as this, the musical score is very important. It needs to be iconic, beautiful, and memorable. Composer Alan Silvestri and Director Robert Zemeckis have worked together for over thirty years. Bob has always included Alan in his films. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?
Now let’s take a look at the technical side of this release.
The 1080p HD image comes with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1, so there are black bars along the top and bottom of your HDTV screen. No need to worry though, as this compelling story will make you forget all about those pesky black bars. This film has a unique glamour to it. The color palette is warm, rich, and full of color. The sets are incredibly vivid and full of detail at all times. Even the costumes are stunning in this film. For a wartime romance-drama, this image certainly fulfills the genre. The grand city of Casablanca looks amazing, and the vehicles seen driving at all times complete the illusion. I mentioned there was a lot of set extensions used in this production, and these only increased the sheer beauty. Close-up shots reveal individual stitching in the actor’s clothing. There are tons of little details to appreciate in this film. Items meant to look used/worn include stunning detail. A couple of examples are Max’s briefcase in the beginning, and the stair banister at their home near the end. The top of his briefcase is worn and covered with various dents. The scratches tell viewers he’s used this case before, and that it’s seen a mission or two. The banister takes place front and center during a pivotal moment in the film. Max and Marianne are in a brief discussion about making the next day the ‘best.’ This would seem innocent, but Max is torn between believing/not believing she’s been a Nazi spy this whole time. The large banister between them is worn, old, and repainted. Even the worn sections have been painted over multiple times, yet it still looks rough. Perhaps this was a bit of symbolism about the relationship between Max and Marianne. These are just a couple of minor high-detailed items to see in the film. It’s truly beautiful from beginning to end.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio does a fantastic job pulling the viewer into the story. Whether it’s a party at a club in Casablanca, or a wartime air-raid, the surrounding channels do a great job completing the illusion. The dialog takes place front and center for the most part, but ambient voices can be heard in the rear channels as well. This is especially notable during large parties and chaotic moments. The musical score is elegant and chimes in perfectly. It never over powers the dialog. This is a great sounding transfer.
Overall, Allied is a very enjoyable wartime drama. Viewers will likely not be able to figure out if Marianne is or isn’t a Nazi spy till the very end. This romantic movie hits all the right notes, and will keep viewers engaged from beginning to end. Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard did a fantastic job playing their roles as Allied spies. The supporting actors were spot on as well. It was a very believable story.
If you are looking for a great love story that happens to take place during World War II, look no further. The addition of Allied spies makes this a compelling film that keep you guessing till the end. Pick it up on Blu-ray today!