Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk full movie review - War, what's it good for
A recent movie that I felt was profound, in spite of the fact that it mostly depicts (with an interesting narrative approach, and a relatable character like Shroom) what we know happens in today's warring world....
However, this is not 'The Hurt Locker', though it uses a similar motif to comment on something else.
Imho, this is more about how lives' trajectories' are shaped by experiences (not just individual, but also those imbibed with your community) in times of mortal peril.
How a misfit in one world becomes a hero, a savior, albeit a reluctant one, taking on his/her new responsibilities almost as if he/she were born to it.
Debutant Joe Alwyn never miss an expression, and though much of that will be attributed both to the direction as well as the casting, credit must be given to this young actor.
1 scene that stood out for me was towards the end, when 1 character go to another, wanting t make a significant change in what happens next, but his/her take on their perception of the other subtly, but surely, shapes the next decision, which is the complete opposite of what was surely intended before that 'brief encounter'. I thought it was 1 of the post powerful sequences I've witnessed on film, not just for how it was written, shot and enacted, but for the way I saw each character's future (both together, &/or separate) trajectories play out (an extension of the plot covered within the movie), the very same way in which a reading a book makes one visualize the past, be in the present, and contemplate the future...Amazing! I get that feeling from very few movies, and a few of the ones I remember sending me in that direction were 'Tinker Tailor soldier spy', 'Prisoners', 'Zodiac', Red Riding' (all 3) & quite a few more, including the recent HBO mini-series 'The Night Of', & 'Westworld'.
All other performances are also great, with standouts being Garrett Hedlund's and Vin Diesel's. Stewart has always been a competent performer, and her good rendering of the role is no surprise, but people who know her from the atrociousness that was 'Twilight' might perceive her differently from now on, of course, depending on how they absorb her performance in this one.
Steve Martin has stepped outside of his comedy niche before (Shopgirl, for instance) and his stunt-casting has elevated many works, but the sincere turn given by Chris Tucker playing a Hollywood hack of sorts has to be one of the best he's been chosen for, and carried out. He allows you to look beyond his pigeonhole, for once, and I hope this is the first of many such turns.
Vin Diesel, known now for his mainstream work, has also stepped outside of his comfort zone quite a few times (Find me guilty, Knockaround guys), and makes this one his own. His characterization also is immensely novel, considering the setting, and quite memorable, in spite of his limited screen time.
Hedlund, on the other hand, is given immense scope, and an opportunity to chew up the scenery, and bites hard. It might not be fair to say that any actor would have relished doing what he got to, but you also have the effort of casting and directing that went into his work, and aside from Vin Diesel or Steve Martin or Chris Tucker, his is the role that most mainstream audiences will respond to (I did, as well).
The key conceit though, was a tad underwhelming, like, I'm sure, it was intended to be. Cannot fault this work on that front, but, this is not an epic work like, for instance, Kathryn Bigelow's 'The Hurt Locker' was, or Ridley Scott's 'Black hawk down' and Antoine Fuqua's 'Tears of the sun' aspired to be.
The way it was meant to be viewed though, is on 3D, with a projection of 120 fps. Unfortunately, the local distributors ha(ve)d no clue about having that copy out. So, I could not watch it the way it was meant to be seen..... &, many ppl I watched it with, did not 'get' it. While that's a recurring theme here for most Hollywood fare, this is possibly the most 'accessible' movie (barring 'Pi', or the much-reviled 'Hulk') that the great Ang 'The Ice Storm' 'Brokeback mountain' 'Lust, Caution' Lee has made.
Unsurprisingly, a flop. Greatness!
Not to be missed, for those with an eye out for cinematic experiences, not just movies....