Briefly back home in the States following an act of heroism during a tour of Iraq, a fresh-faced 19-year-old US army private (Joe Alwyn) faces an ordeal every bit as terrifying as combat: being publicly honoured during the halftime show of a Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day football game (American variety).
Based on a novel by Ben Fountain and set in 2004, satirical drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk seizes on the gulf between the reality of war, seen in eye-searing flashbacks, and 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 the normal rate), 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.
Certificate 15. Runtime 113 mins. Director Ang Lee
Available on Blu-ray & DVD from 12 June.