MovieReviewMaven's Review of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

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ages 17+ |

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Grade: C Rating: R, 110 minutes In a Nutshell: As an Army mom, I admit I watched this flag-waiving drama through different eyes. Based on the best-selling book, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel, this was the first time High Frame Rate technology was used in a movie at such a high speed. It has an interesting effect that is supposed to be immersive in a new way. Unfortunately, most people will end up watching this underwhelming movie on a TV or tiny computer screen after it comes out on DVD, missing the impressive work in each frame. Uplifting theme: “Has anyone looked in the eyes of the dead?” – poetry at funeral “It’s not something I’m real proud of, but I did what I had to do.” – Billy Lynn "The karma of action…the way of the warrior." - Shroom “Sometimes I wonder if we really deserve what you guys do for us.” – Faison (Makenzie Leigh) “We're a nation of children, Billy. We go somewhere else to grow up, sometimes to die.” – Shroom (Vin Diesel) Loyalty, bravery, patriotism, war, freedom, politics. Things I liked: The funeral at the beginning is heart-breaking when the ceremony includes calling out for the deceased soldier. Shout-out to Matt Damon, Hillary Swank, and Destiny’s Child. Celebrities who were actually in the movie are Vin Diesel, Chris Tucker, Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin. Newcomer Joe Alwyn has incredibly expressive eyes that allow you to see the conflict within his character. Ben Platt is so likable. He has only played small roles in movies so far, but I’d like to see him in a bigger role someday. Two-time Oscar winning Director Ang Lee broke new ground cinematically because of his technique. (I loved his work in Life of Pi.) I also liked how he tried to film it as if we were in the middle of the action, rather than watching the action. The film addresses PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) You might be interested in learning more about combat stress recovery programs. I loved how Shroom always said “I love you” to his men. This movie isn't really a war movie, but rather, a soldier movie. Things I didn’t like: All of the guys talk at the same time, so it’s often hard to hear what everyone is saying. The film tells you how to feel. The acting isn’t particularly good. I realize the soldiers are just young kids. They are often extremely badly behaved, even at their press events. Doesn’t the military teach some etiquette to soldiers before they go on a media tour like this? It's embarrassing. There is some ignorant talk of gays in the military. On the one hand, the movie seemed like a satire. On the other hand, it felt like it was too saccharine. I wanted more of a backstory so that I would care about any of these soldiers. The script is rather dull. Interesting lines: “It doesn’t have to be about God or country. Just find something bigger than yourself.” – Shroom (Vin Diesel) ‘I’ve kind of gotten used to telling people what they want to hear.” – Billy Lynn “It’s so weird, being honored for the worst day of your life.” – Billy Lynn “Sometimes nothing is better than something.” – Billy Lynn “Take us some place safe. Take us back to the war.” – Sykes (Barney Harris) Funny lines: “72 virgins in heaven? Why 72?” – random girl who talked to Billy Lynn at a football game. “I can appreciate trash talk. It’s not the best I’ve heard, but it’s pretty good.” – Steven Martin “Yeah, yeah. Let’s go get a middle school named after us!” – Dime (Garrett Hedlund) Tips for parents: Lots and lots of profanity. A lot of inappropriate sexual conversations and a fairly graphic sex scene. There is a scene were some guys smoke marijuana. War violence, including a bloody hand-to-hand combat scene.
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Okfor ages12+