Forget the much hyped and touted technology of (the faster) 120 frames per second in acclaimed director Ang Lee’s latest film. It’s not so much about the Iraqi War as it is about relationships — on and off the battlefield.
It’s 2004. Private Billy Lynn (Debutant Joe Alwyn) seems unaffected by the adulation he’s received for winning the Silver Star for a particular act of heroism during a raging battle in Iraq, one during which he loses his Sergeant Shroom (Vin Diesel). On Thanksgiving Day 2004, his Bravo battalion, led by Sgt. Dime (Garrett Hedlund in a masterly performance) is invited to be felicitated during the halftime interval at an American Football match at Dallas Cowboy’s stadium where Destiny’s Child would be performing.
Lee aims to intersperse and connect flashbacks of the war in Iraq with the various goings-on at the halftime ceremony, including physical skirmishes between the Bravo unit and the security personnel at the event. Cheerleader Faison (Makenzie Leigh) as Lynn’s romantic interest does well.
One wonders what breathtaking spectacle the new invention of 120 fps would have yielded, especially since the format is not at one’s disposal here. At under two hours, the film is more of a saunter than a ‘long walk’; yet it fails to deliver — particularly on the sensibilities of a film associated with war. Kristen Stewart, as Billy’s sister Kathryn who attempts to hold back her brother from returning to the warfront after the felicitation, emotes well, while veteran Steve Martin, as Norm Oglesby the football team owner, fails to impress.
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