When it comes to iconic director/composer relationships there’s always a few that pop into your head immediately such as Steven Spielberg and John Williams, Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann, and of course Robert Zemeckis and Alan Silvestri. Zemeckis and Silvestri keep the collaborative train chugging along with Allied, a seductive espionage thriller. The story follows an intelligence officer in 1942 who begins a romance with a French resistance fighter as they work together during WWII. Things complicate when the two fall in love but she is suspected to be a German spy. So in a way it's kind of a more serious Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
Alan Silvestri’s score is nothing terribly complex, but just subtle and focused enough to add a layer of romance and character to the story. The soundtrack album only contains about 28-minutes of score, sharing space with some jazz pieces that Zemeckis utilized to give the film a feel of its time and setting. Amongst the score there is a great subtle central theme that is gently woven throughout, and it’s actually quite interesting to see how Alan Silvestri is able to hit all the story beats within a short and low-key score such as this. Alan paints a soft and delicate romance between the characters, almost as if it were a dream and not real. He then juxtaposes that with the few moments of thrills, which utilize a steady percussive tension build. Some might wrongfully compare the approach here to that of Cast Away, which while similar doesn’t necessarily feel at all in the same vein. When Zemeckis and Silvestri work, it’s essentially Robert giving the film to Alan and letting the film speak to him as a composer. There will never be score for just the sake of having it. And that trust between director and composer is pretty unique.
While Allied may not be a deeply rich and compelling score, it strives in its simplicity and ability to hone in on the characters and craft a more focused narrative experience. Since the film didn’t need too much score, Alan Silvestri composed what he thought the film needed and nothing more. The music shines a light on romance and juxtaposes it with moments of suspense for a short and surprisingly engaging experience.
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