Sunday, November 13, 2016
Movie Review: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Private Billy Lynn is a 19 year old American hero, back home from a deadly stint in Afghanistan, for a short victory tour along with fellow soldiers from the Bravo company. Drafted in to participate in the halftime show at a Thanksgiving Day football game for some PR, Billy's thoughts become our gateway to discover what it really is like to be fighting a war, contrasting the realities with public perception, giving a fascinating peek into what lies beneath.
Moving back and forth between the traumatic experiences on the frontlines and back alleys of Afghanistan to the razzle dazzle of the halftime show, from the cowering residents during raids in Afghan homes to the families back in America, the film takes you back and forth, blurring the lines between reality and perception, until you start asking, what's more terrifying?
Joe Alwyn as Billy does a good job, sharing great chemistry with his mentor (Vin Diesel, who initiates him into Karma and Krishna!) and his commander (Garett Hedlund). Kristen Stewart excels at playing the very sick (recovering from a very bad accident and break up) Kathryn, his sister, who pleads with him not to return to duty. Steve Martin and Chris Tucker are also memorable in short but well essayed roles as media men seeking to do a movie on the Bravo company. Makenzie Leigh, as Billy's one-hour-long cheerleader-lover, sizzles the screen and more than makes up for Kristen.
The film is a technical marvel, directed by Ang Lee, who lists Life of Pi and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon among his other brilliant works. Shot in 3D with a 4K resolution, at a speed of 120 frames per second, 5x the normal, the movie should be a visual treat. Sadly, very few theatres in the world, leave alone in India, will be able to make the most of this format in the near future. That said, the immersive presentation coupled with Destiny's Child's "Soldier" at the halftime show, is enough to give you goosebumps and a racing pulse, and make you want more, even when the credits roll 2 hours later...
Definitely worth a trip to the multiplex, but watch it in the best one you can get into!