Following an act of heroism during a tour of Iraq, fresh-faced 19-year-old US army private Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) briefly returns to the States to be publicly honoured during the halftime show of a Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day football game.
Based on a novel by Ben Fountain and set in 2004, this satirical drama seizes on the gulf between the reality of war, seen in eye-searing flashbacks, and the ordeal of the patriotic hoopla taking place in the stadium, complete with fireworks, marching bands and a performance by Destiny’s Child.
Director Ang Lee shot the film at an ultra-fast 120 frames per second (five times faster than normal), which gives the images a discomforting hyper-reality. The intent is to give the soldiers’ experiences on and off the battlefield a raw immediacy, but the effect is to rub our noses in the film’s anti-war message.
Still, the movie certainly grabs our attention, while Alwyn’s callow hero gets good support from the likes of Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Leigh and Steve Martin.
This film premieres on Sunday 22 October at 8.00pm.