Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Starring:
Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel and Steve Martin


Rated: R for language throughout, some war violence, sexual content, and brief drug use.
Reviewed by: Chris  
Release date: November 11, 2016 Released by: TriStar Pictures

Director Ang Lee's new drama is based on Ben Fountain's 2012 novel.  It focuses on the young men of Bravo Squad who have been flown from fighting in Iraq to the U.S for two weeks in order to drum up support for the war.

The action is set during one day at the 2004 Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Game.  They' re accompanied by Sgt. Dime (Garrett Hedlund, who gives a very strong performance).  He's a fast-talking, no-nonsense guy who,  one minute playfully banters with his young squad and the next, is yelling out orders to get them to listen-up.

The star of the group is Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn,, a 25 year old British actor with a bright future), who ran to help his wounded sergeant 'Shroom" (Vin Diesel) during combat, and then fighting off the enemy to protect him.The incident was recorded by another soldier on his cell phone and his heroism was aired every night on America's newscasts.

The guys are accompanied by a publicist (Chris Tucker) and chauffeured in a Hummer limousine to the game where they meet Cowboy's owner Norm Oglesby  (Steve Martin).  They attend a lavish buffet with a bunch of bigwigs and are showcased in the flashy halftime show, standing at attention behind a Beyoncé-led "Destiny's Child", no less.

Ushered from one event to the next, the day doesn't go exactly as planned.  Strangers come up to them to express well meaning, yet often hollow, gratitude, the publicist tries to sell the idea of a movie of their war experiences and promises of big money for all of them if it can be made, and Oglesby turning out to be a just another guy out for himself.  All of this plays out amid flashbacks of the war, and the day is just one big disappointment.

Alwyn is great in this difficult role.  So much emotion expressed in those big eyes.  They fill with tears easily and portray all of the pain that he's dealing with.  Kristen Stewart as Billy's sister who's trying to get him not to redeploy with the help of a local psychiatrist, also gives a strong performance. 

Director Lee filmed in a brand new 120 frames-per-second technology. Although its only available for viewing in a very small amount of theaters around the country,, and I wasn't able to watch the film in this new format,  it didn't diminish my experience in any way.. 

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Matt Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk  B+   B   C                     B- 

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