19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks the film shows what really happened to his squad—contrasting the realities of war with America’s perceptions.
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It's the same film, again and again. US soldiers come back home, can't cope with their family or nation's expectations, recall their war days and get depressed. I can understand that war is a trauma for these boys coming from a land where they had everything but enough is enough. I can't figure out how this film made it into the 'Cahiers du Cinéma' top 10 list. Almost instant crap.
Turkey time. Even the best directors wind up missing the mark sometimes and Ang Lee fails on almost all fronts with this miscalculated film that looks at patriotism, service, celebrity and perception in its' story of an American troop on a 'tour of duty' back home. The scripting and dialogue throughout are pretty awful giving in to cliché and bogus philosophy. On the plus side is the title turn by Joe Alwyn.
A great film to show what happens when all the exploitation, greed, and commodification catches up to soldiers and how much our "support our troops" bracelets really mean. Joe Alwyn gives an emotionally powerful performance in a film built off of emotion and power, and if you can allow your eyes and mind to adjust to the much-publicized 120 frames per second frame-rate, trust me, it's worth it and is not a gimmick.
What a magnificent failure. Even though well-intentioned, what attempts to be a sharp satire ends up being overdrawn, heavy on the eye and lacking any kind of emotional cohesiveness. The 120fps/4K/3D experience does nothing to advance the "cinema experience", quite the contrary. In the end, movies are about stories and Billy Lynn's just isn't good enough.
Sometimes there's good things in bad movies. Like Joe Alwyn. He knocked it out of the park. It's just that the plot is littered with gag-inducing tropes. For me the best scene was when he's talking to the cheerleader, and he realizes she loves the idea of him, rather than him as a person. She could have saved his life.
There's something inherently bizarre and yet so very American about the transition between the flashbacks of the war scene and the entire Destiny's Child performance. The film constantly felt a bit off... the PTSD was a bit heavy-handed and there were terrible supporting actors/characters (Vin Diesel, the cheerleader, Steve Martin...), while others (Billy's family, the soldiers) were basically ignored. Shame.
Something something good intentions. That goes both for the display of American troops during hermetically sealed sports events to make the audience feel good about themselves, and to the Hollywood contingent that thinks 'Oh, how awful, we must do a movie about this'."Billy, Don't be a Hero" or "Billy, You're a Hero". And Steve Martin in the thinly disguised Jerry Jones role? No. Ang Lee dropped the ball here. Avoid.