Academy Award® winner Ang Lee (2012, Best Director, Life Of Pi ) brings his extraordinary vision to BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK, based on the widely acclaimed, bestselling novel. The story is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing battle in Iraq and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through a sequence of flashbacks, the truth about what really happened is revealed – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s distorted perceptions of heroism. Co-starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel and Steve Martin.
What We Thought:
Newcomer Joe Alwyn is quite good in Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I wasn’t sure which way the film would lean, but overall it doesn’t get too political.
Overall the film shows how difficult returning home can be for some vets/soldiers. Billy watched one of his leaders die and had to personally kill someone one on one. The tour away from Iraq shows how the media and our government takes advantage of our soldiers while they struggle to adapt back to normalcy. Loud noises, especially at the stadium and during halftime, really shows the difficulties that these men go through just trying to acclimate back to regular life. One minute you’re on the battlefield shooting at the enemy and getting shot at, the next you’re on stage with Destiny’s Child because the owner of a sports team wants to show you off.
In a way the film is also very meta. Chris Tucker’s role is the man trying to get these boys a movie deal to have their story made into a film. There are multiple times Tucker’s character mentions things that would look good in a movie like having a love interest when Billy meets the cheerleader. It’s true of Hollywood, you can have the most dramatic story of all time and yet they add in an unnecessary love story (see The Finest Hours or Hacksaw Ridge).
The film does take some political shots, but it’s not overbearing. One person talks to the boys about how he’s trying to get us off the use of foreign oil and Garrett Hedlund sarcastically thanks him for trying to help them. The biggest political character is of course Kristen Stewart’s. In a movie about soldiers, she has to be the bleeding heart who doesn’t think we should be over there and tries to convince her brother (Billy) not to go back. I’m not a fan of hers and her character bothered me. I understand the point of her character, but as an uncle of someone currently in the Navy and someone who has known soldiers over there, I didn’t like what she had to say.
The film’s biggest positive is its acting. Alwyn is very good in a breakout role. I think Hedlund is majorly underrated and Vin Diesel plays a less in your face role. It’s nice seeing Chris Tucker getting some work again and Steve Martin is really good as the Jerry Jones type football team owner.
The 4K looks stunning. Ang Lee has always adapted to technology and his film looks beautiful. The contrasting images of war versus the spectacle of a Thanksgiving halftime show look flawless. Audio is top-notch with easy to hear dialogue, music and the sounds of war. Bonus features include featurettes, deleted scenes and more.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk isn’t the political movie I thought it would be. For some reason I was expecting something extremely left leaning or at least anti-soldier. Lee’s film is beautiful to look at and very well acted. Overall, it is…
- Exclusive Special Feature – 4K Featurette with Ang Lee and Time Squyres discussing the film’s groundbreaking frame rate technology
- Feature film in 4K resolution, 60 Frames Per Second (FPS), with High Dynamic Range (HDR)
- Dolby Atmos soundtrack (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) *
- Also includes the film and special features on high-def Blu-ray
- Deleted Scenes
- Four Featurettes:
- “Into Battle and Onto the Field: Stepping Inside Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”
- “Recreating the Halftime Show”
- “The Brotherhood of Combat”
- “Assembling A Cast”
Cast & Crew:
- Ang Lee
- Vin Diesel
- Garrett Hedlund
- Kristen Stewart
- Joe Alwyn
- Chris Tucker
- Steve Martin
Recommended If You Like:
- The Hurt Locker
- War Movies