A National Guard lieutenant whose unit is being deployed to Iraq while he stays safely Stateside is bedeviled by conflicting loyalties in the 2004-set morality drama “Allegiance.” The pic’s assorted characters, though credible, feel wearisomely one-dimensional, while the pumped-up action, unfolding in a single day, basically consists of an extended game of hide-and-seek. Writer-director Michael Connors’ film remains locked in its one-note ethical dilemma, its deliberately washed-out palette sacrificing visual variation to institutional dreariness. Bowing Dec. 28 in limited release, “Allegiance” will probably not be called up for an extended tour.Connors posits a basic injustice from the get-go: A whitebread lieutenant (Seth Gabel) has been rerouted to safe homefront duty thanks to his politico papa, while a black medic (Shad “Bow Wow” Moss), whose young son is dying, is denied a transfer. Awash in class and racial guilt, despised by the squad he’s seen as deserting, the louie (traditionally, in war films, the rank of the upper-class bleeding-heart liberal forced to bow to military expediency) must choose between helping the medic escape and obeying orders.
An XLrator release of a Five by Eight, Hardball Entertainment production. Produced by Daryl Friemark, Sean Mullin. Executive producer, John Patrick Boyle. Co-producer, Terry Leonard. Co-executive producers, Brian Reidy, John O'Neill. Directed, written by Michael Connors.
Camera (color, HD), Danny Vecchione; editor, Jonathan Schwartz; music, Immediate; music supervisors, Tony Verderosa, Pat Mullen; production designer, Laurie Hicks. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Dec. 24, 2012. Running time: 91 MIN.
Seth Gabel, Shad "Bow Wow" Moss, Pablo Schreiber, Aidan Quinn, Malik Yoba, Jason Lew, Dominic Fumusa, Laith Nakli.