Verdict: A simple portrayal of what soldiers go through in everyday life, in all aspects.
Directed by Ang Lee and written by Jean-Christophe Castelli, this film is based on the novel of the same name by Ben Fountain. It was adapted by Simon Beaufoy, the same Oscar-winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire. This film is part war, part drama, part sport.
Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) is a 19-year-old army specialist at war in Iraq. He, with his seven peers, survive a battle, that could have been more dramatic. The group of eight soldiers, known as Bravo, are celebrated as heroes and brought back home in the USA, where they go on a promotional tour across the country. This tour ends in a glorious halftime show at a special Thanksgiving Day football match. Here, Billy recounts the traumatic memories of the war, where he lost his sergeant in a firefight.
This isn't purely a war movie. What makes this film more refreshing than an ordinary war film is its screenplay. It goes back and forth from his recent time at war and the current scenario at the football game, with each scene transitioning with relevance. The film has used an unprecedented shooting and projection frame rate of 120 frames per second. Lee decided to do this since he wanted the film to be an "immersive" and "realistic" experience of the dreadfully emotional journey of soldiers.
The titular role is played by Joe Alwyn, who was cast just two days after he left his drama school. He was supposedly cast due to his "ability to communicate the book's paradox of war with just his facial expressions." He proves his ability and quite importantly so. All the other actors, right from Kristen Stewart to Steve Martin to Chris Tucker to Vin Diesel, perform sufficiently. What keeps an otherwise slow film interesting are the wisecracks they all have up their sleeves.
Why Should You Watch This Movie:
Watch it for a simple tale of what soldiers go through, in various aspects, from major to minor. It is refreshingly more than an ordinary war film with its screenplay. The unexpected wisecracks are just a bonus.