19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks the film shows what really happened to his squad - contrasting the realities of war with America's perceptions.
Two-time Academy Award® winner Ang Lee brings his extraordinary vision to Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, based on the widely-acclaimed, bestselling novel. The film is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad - contrasting the realities of the war with America's perceptions. The film also stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, with Vin Diesel, and Steve Martin. Lee used new technology, shooting at an ultra-high frame rate for the first time in film history, to create an immersive digital experience helping him dramatize war in a way never seen before. Lee directed and produced the film, from a screenplay by Jean-Christophe ... Written by
Sony Pictures Entertainment
In terms of visuals Billy Lynn's was very impressive, however I would ask, is this the right genre of film to showcase such technical cinematography? Obviously such stunning shots could only be a plus to the film but for a film that is really more about one's internal struggles rather than exterior conflicts I do find it quite an odd decision to make this film in such a way. I did go in expecting an all out war movie since I have heard of all of these things that Ang Lee is doing in this film, in terms of visuals. Which did leave be surprised but also disappointed at how few those scenes are. Essentially this film takes place within a time span of one day and all takes place at this football game? What?
Obviously there were flashback scenes and all but there were quite few and every time we jump back to the present time it just leaves be craving for the next flashback scene. I can understand this message that the film was trying to send about being considered a 'war hero', about all the costs and sacrifices that soldiers are making each day and the way they are treated. How decorated war heroes are just a sort of title, people will show you and tell you how much they appreciate your services and what not but when it comes to actually giving anything we never seem to be so eager to. It is a film that showcases this idea of being crowned a 'hero' and what it really means, and sure that was quite an interesting theme to look at.
But perhaps to make this whole story more impactful instead of having flashbacks tell us the story overseas we get a whole first half of the film showing it to us, before all of the victory tour stuff. It just makes it very hard for audiences to understand the implications and the sacrifices that they have made if this sort of flashback storytelling is used. It is often hard to make a good war movie that isn't based on a true story, this is likely because when audiences know that it is fictitious the stakes wouldn't be so high, and it won't really touch people's hearts so to speak. So both these elements combine to create the war's lack of importance which is a very bad thing to have happen.
In conclusion, I liked what they were trying to say, the underlying idea and theme of the film came indefinitely of a good place. However poor storytelling and lack of story in general really made this film suffer quite a bit.
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