Starring: Aidan Quinn, Dominic Fumusa, Malik Yoba, Pablo Schreiber, Shad “Bow Wow” Moss, Seth Gabel
Written and Directed by: Michael Connors
Produced by: Sean Mullin and Daryl Freimark
After being granted a questionable transfer that will keep him stateside as his National Guard unit deploys for Iraq, Lieutenant Danny Sefton (Seth Gabel) becomes embroiled in a last minute AWOL attempt by one of his soldiers (Bow Wow) — forcing him to choose between his loyalties to the fleeing soldier, his unit and his fiancé.
If you all caught the trailer – like I did – you might have been reminded of the movie Tigerland (2000) starring Colin Farrel and Matt Davis. Like Tigerland, Allegiance focuses not on taking the war to the frontlines, but on the troubles soldiers go through on the homefront, before they ever even leave for combat. However, that’s where the similarities end.
At about 92 minutes running time, it’s short by today’s standards – but Allegiance is moderately-paced and I loved that it didn’t drag on just to get the run time up. The story was intriguing, and it balanced a bit of fun amid the seriousness. Allegiance shows a side to the military that many forget or are unable to imagine being possible in modern times.
I quickly found myself empathizing with each character – yet, obviously, rooting for Reyes (Shad “Bow Wow” Moss) most of all, hoping he could manage to escape. However, the crazy thing about this movie is that there isn’t a “bad guy” – just a group of men trying to do the right thing, though they disagree about what that entails.
Something you won’t get from the nice promotional poster is the lack of decent coloring in the film itself – and that plain, almost old-fashioned coloring is probably the only negative thing I have to say about it. These days, having such a lack of color is definitely an artistic decision – in this case probably the result of aiming for the “camouflage” military look. It’s risky, but for the most part, it manages to work for the film. Once I got caught up in the story, I no longer noticed it.
There are so many things that go into the making of a film – and thus there are so many areas that can go wrong and make the film fall short. Both the script and the cast’s performance made the entire film more compelling and engaging than I anticipated. In short: Allegiance is a great film.