Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is Ang Lee’s latest venture, and stars a plethora of people who you likely enjoy, including Steve Martin, Chris Tucker, Vin Diesel, and Kristen Stewart. This is also the first major role for Joe Alwyn, who plays the titular character and hopefully will find himself in more roles in the future.
This film has released on 4k (the first 4k title to feature 60fps, actually) and Blu-ray, but today we will be taking a look at just the Blu-ray version. Let’s see what we have!
Billy Lynn is a young Texas man who joins the military as a sort of get out of jail free card. His sister (Stewart) was involved in a major car accident that left her scarred. It is when he went after the other driver where he finds himself in a spot of trouble and is faced with the choice of enlisting or facing other legal consequences. Needless to say, he finds himself in Iraq learning disciple the hard way thanks to his two commanding officers (Vin Diesel and Garrett Hedland, who you’ll recognize from Tron: Legacy).
A particularly fateful encounter with the enemy leaves Billy Lynn a national hero and one of his commanding officers in the ground. Billy’s squad is given some leave back home where they will be participating in the Superbowl Halftime show with Destiny’s Child. This is where the bulk of this story takes place. Over the course of a football game, we learn of Billy’s inner conflict about getting out of the military while still desiring to be there for his fellow soldiers. Add to the mix a whopping case of PTSD, the life change of being a hero, an amorous cheerleader, and a Hollywood PR agent trying to get film rights to his story, and we have a look at what Billy is going through. It’s a lot.
Billy Lynn’s story is not a true one, but is instead based on a novel by Ben Fountain. However, that makes this story no less impactful. Each of these situations that he faces are no doubt lived through by many returning soldiers who have faced their own hells overseas. (Ok maybe not the movie deal or being in a halftime show, but the PTSD and struggles of re-entering society are certainly real). The acting by every one in this film really drives home how difficult it would be.
This all leads me to my only gripe to this otherwise impactful and interesting story… the time. A lot goes on here and it happens just too fast. Even with a run time of just under two hours, there is easily another hour of story here that would make the audience more attached to these characters. Because of this I’m willing to bet the book is the better story here, but for those without the time or drive to read, I can wholeheartedly recommend this story.
I’m quite sad that I don’t have the 4K release of this film, as I am curious of the 60fps presentation. However, I can say without any qualms that the Blu-ray version is every bit as good looking as you would expect of the format. The colors and textures really pop, and there are several scenes put together that just scream beauty to them. If you’ve seen Lee’s previous film Life of Pi, you will have an idea of what to expect. He really puts a dream like quality to his films.
As for the audio, Billy Lynn is an exciting film to listen to, through and through. The war flashbacks feature some great gunplay and explosions, while the halftime show is equally as exciting featuring Destiny’s Child music with fireworks and all sorts of excitement. Listen to this one loud!
- Deleted Scenes
- Into Battle and Onto the Field: Stepping Inside Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – a discussion on the novel and what it took to bring it to life on the big screen.
- Assembling a Cast – A look at casting for the film
- Recreating the Halftime Show – what it took to recreate the 2004 halftime show
- The Brotherhood of Combat – the film’s cast went through a boot camp together and discuss what it was like preparing for the movie
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk has been brought to Blu-ray by Tri-Star and comes in a fairly standard amaray case with matching art on the slipcover and sleeve. Inside is one Blu-ray disc with some nice art on it and a slip with the UV copy.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a really well done story of the inside of a soldier’s mind as they face a range of emotions as they spend time back at home. It covers some important topics and portrays them in a very real way. The only real downside is that the story is over too soon and we don’t get as much as we hope for. But for that, there’s the book. I would certainly recommend this film.
You can purchase it here on Amazon.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.