Allied ★★★★

A gloriously indulgent exercise in artifice, both emotional and visual, this sumptuous throwback sees Zemeckis near peak form. There are literally dozens of thoughtful sequence shots here that cram three or more compositions into a take, but at the same time this is not the work of a filmmaker who puts himself first (it compares favorably in this respect to this year's nonetheless impressive The Age of Shadows). The shot/countershot reversals are just as deftly deployed, always reminding us of the intimate stakes of the story. The leads certainly don't disappear into their roles, but that only enhances the feeling that this is primarily a timeless ode to the values of classical Hollywood filmmaking. A whirlwind sexual encounter and an even more bombastic birth scene feel like all-timers.


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