Entering the crowded arena of action heavy dramas based on the events of World War II Dominic Burns’ Allies finds its mark with a tense, thrilling story featuring a pair of excellent lead performances from Julian Ovenden and Chris Reilly.
Set in the dogs days of the war, sensing the tide of the war finally turning, a group of young British soldiers are thrown into the bloody, muddy and emotionally caustic world behind enemy lines. There to retrieve an important document from General MacGuffin which would end the war. The soldiers are lead by a confident, practical American Captain, he himself is the first to admit of the tension his presence creates in the group.
The fragile camaraderie between the band of soldiers drives the narrative through some familiar turns, indeed much of the basis for the film isn’t new. This is not surprising given the actuality of what happened in the war, and many of the set pieces are neatly choreographed and snappily edited. A midnight forest dash is beautifully lit and there’s a tracking shot into a resistance stronghold which is very well executed and perfectly paced.
From a technical point of view the film is very solid, Burns has upped his game considerably and there is a shrewd confidence to Allies which is tangibly felt. Special note should be made of Julian Ovenden and Chris Reilly, whose fractured partnership forms the heart of the film, and who create an emotional attachment so necessary to the film’s success. Matt Willis is certainly worthy of note, not least for a particularly harrowing scene halfway through the film which is perhaps the film’s most powerful moment – with all credit to Willis.
Through we have walked this road before Allies is a great example of a film determined to succeed regardless of the common ground it shared with its forbears. Burns’ confidence continues to grow; here he has found a solid story to tell and creates some impactful visual flourishes and benefits from a winning cast.