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Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Blu-ray Review

billy-lynns-long-halftime-walk-blu-ray

Not even the impressive cast can save “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.”

Based on the novel of the same name by Ben Fountain, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” revolves around an Army soldier (Billy Lynn) who becomes a national hero after his attempt to save a wounded soldier in the Iraq War was filmed. Due to his heroic actions, Billy’s unit (Bravo Squad) also gains the attention of the press as well. Together, Billy and Bravo Squad essentially become paraded around as they are asked to appear at the halftime show of the 2004 Cowboys Thanksgiving football game. Upon arriving at the Cowboys stadium, Billy has a lot to digest as he has a fling with a cheerleader, ponders being honorably discharged at the request of his sister, and works with a film producer and the Cowboys owner to get a movie made based on Bravo Squad. While all of this is going on, the film also flashes back to Billy’s past both at home and at war.

For a film that contains weighty subjects involving honor, family, PTSD, veterans, patriotism, Iraq War, heroism, and Hollywood, it has very little to say about all of them. In fact, director Ang Lee and writer Jean-Christophe Castelli barely scratches the surface with these topics. Instead, Castelli spends more time on the subplot involving the attempt at making a Bravo Squad movie while Ang lee seems more concerned with the odd glitzy visual style. Suffice to say, none of the material connects the way it should which is a shame given the level of talent that is involved.

Even though the film itself struggles to convey its ideas, the performances are strong across the board. In his first film role as the titular character, Joe Alwyn is a bit stuff, but he does a mostly commendable job as the conflicted and flawed soldier. In a rare film appearance as of late, Chris Tucker shines as a film producer. Kristen Stewart continues her streak of noteworthy performances as Billy’s sister. The underrated Garret Hedlund steals the show as the wise cracking Sergeant Dime. Steve Martin goes against type in a dramatic role as the Cowboys owner Norm Oglesby. Finally, Vin Diesel shows off some dramatic chops in a small but crucial role as soldier Sgt. Shroom. It would be nice to see Diesel do more roles like this in the future.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? Whatever your opinion on Ang Lee’s decision to use a high frame rate is, the film certainly looks crystal clear. Note:  The high frame rate version of the film is apparently on the 4K release.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A layered track that effortlessly handles everything from the war scenes to the intimate character moments.

Extras:
* Digital copy.
* Sony/Tristar trailers.
* 6 deleted scenes.
* “Recreating The Halftime Show”- A featurette on the production of the halftime show sequence.
* “The Brotherhood Of Combat”- This bonus feature covers the cast going through a rigorous boot camp.
* “Assembling A Cast”- The title says it all.
* “Into Battle And Onto The Field: Stepping Inside Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” contains set footage, interviews, character and story discussions, the novel the film is based on, and more.

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February 10, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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