Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk - 3.5 Stars
An interesting film that questions the value of war.
What I liked most about the film is that it didn’t pick a “pro-war” or “anti-war” argument, it instead depicted characters grappling with that same issue. By presenting the audience with both sides of the argument and by seeing characters be tormented by that same choice it makes the film more realistic and relatable. Writer Jean-Christophe Castelli has written a solid screenplay, it avoids 90% of the war cliches and there are interesting three-dimensional characters. Ang Lee always presents unusual cinematography and this is no different. The filming is strange, but captivating and some shots clearly make the audience uncomfortable.
The cast is diverse and strong - newcomer Joe Alwyn offers an intense and intimate performance, while Kristen Stewart is the standout. Garrett Heduland, Chris Tucker, Ben Platt and Steve Martin complete the all-star ensemble. All play there roles well, with Tucker truly shining. The rest of the “Bravo” unit are also excellent and I hope to see all the members get future work that demonstrates their talents better. My one complaint is Vin Diesel. A truly awful action movie star who didn’t fit in with this talented cast. Luckily his scenes were minimal, but his attempt at “serious” acting was almost laughable. It was a miracle he didn’t spoil the whole film.
Overall certainly an interesting film, with a very different approach to showing war, PTSD and other themes that surround the subject. While it isn’t Ang Lee’s greatest film it does have interesting cinematography, mostly great performances and a strong script.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Sony Entertainment