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Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

(Contains Some Spoilers)

Marshall Tate, Staff Writer

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billy-lynnThis week while trying to decide which movie to review, I stumbled upon a masterpiece. Billy Lynn’s Big Halftime walk is directed by Ang Lee and stars a relatively unknown lead, Joe Alwyn. This is not to say that the movie doesn’t have a star studded cast including Vin Diesel, Steve Carrell, Kristen Stewart, and Chris Tucker. I came into this movie blind only knowing the director was Academy award winner Ang Lee and the title.

The film is about the character Billy Lynn, a soldier, being honored alongside his fellow squad members in ‘Delta Squad’. The film also uses flashbacks to show us delta squads, and Billy’s, past leading up to the halftime.

We learn of Billy’s life at home with his sister (Kristen Stewart) as well as learn about his time with delta squad, and the death of former squad member Shroom (Vin Diesel).

The whole cast gave incredible performances with only some issue with a few minor side characters. It felt like there was a brotherhood between the whole squad members, and I was especially impressed by the lead (Joe Alwyn) who, along with great cinematography, really helped me understand the stresses of PTSD and how war can affect someone. Alwyn is someone who we will no doubt see in films to come, with one of the best performances of the year.

Other performances of note were those of Vin Diesel and Kristen Stewart. Vin Diesel portrayed the recently deceased squad member ‘Shroom’, and his performance was the best Vin Diesel has given since Saving Private Ryan. All of these performances were accompanied with incredible directing by Ang Lee, and some unorthodox ways of filming that were particularly effective at helping to tell the story.

Coming back to The cinematography for this movie, which is incredible, was done by John Toll. It mainly consisted of close face shots and point of view shots from the eyes of Billy. This was something that worked really well in this movie for the scenes it was in.

This filming technique really helped me feel the emotions and understand each character’s actions and behavior.  However, seeing things from Billy’s point of view made everything hit a little harder emotionally. From Shroom’s death, to the funny quips amongst the squad at the halftime show.

This Film also contains really interesting themes about love, brotherhood, and courage. I really liked that the movie wasn’t one sided at all. Even though we see how war is awful and the ways it changes soldiers, we also see the brotherhood that the army offers to these kids like Billy, whose Delta squad is basically his family now.

The film also focuses on the hardships that soldiers and vets face, and it really made me think.  These men have seen things that nobody should have to see, and done things that nobody should have to do, and it truly affects their day to day life.

When rating this movie on a scale from one to ten I give it an 8.4.

 

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