A member of Bravo company is hailed as a hero in Iraq when footage reaches back home showing him running into enemy territory to save his company Commander. At home Bravo is on a PR tour to make the most of the media coverage. In his home state of Texas Billy Lynn and the rest of his company are sent to the Thankgiving NFL game to be with Destiny’s Child at Halftime. We learn his past, before the heroics, and his sisters attempts to get him to not return to his next tour by claiming post traumatic stress disorder.
Ang Lee, Director of Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm, and The Remains of the Day, along with The Hulk, is one of those directors who normally knock every project out of the park. This feels more like a Hail Mary than anything else. Even people who at the time disliked his vision of The Hulk now look back on it as better than memory, but I doubt that Billy Lynn is going to have the same fortunate future. Based on a fiction novel one gets the feeling that this is meant to be a satire more than a drama. But before you all go on the bitching bus and think I’m against the brave men and women who fight against terrorism just wait at the ticket office. I have never a problem with Soldiers, I have a problem with the suits who send them into danger for unclear reasons, but as far as Soldiers go I have nothing but respect for them. This places me in a higher position than the makers of this film.
There are uncomfortable moments where the camera is close up on those giving their little speeches and interactions. Someone put Steve Martin too close to an electric fire and he melted, I know we are all getting older, and no one looks worse getting old than I do, but Holy Hell what is going on. The script just doesn’t work as you start to wonder what is going on, the badly written, or stolen script from Jarhead is shoehorned in to a coming home drama. Then all of a sudden Billy just wants to get laid and there is a Christian yet slutty Cheerleader on hand to rub up against him. I haven’t seen such a badly crafted romance since 50 Shades or Twilight.
This film is just terrible, it should have knocked me out with the story, that Director and a cast that any other film would kill for. I just can’t tell you how disappointed I was, leaving the cinema, looking to my fellow reviewers and wondering what we had just sat through. The annoying Halftime show, which should have been the main feature of the film, is a huge mess. It’s meant to be Destiny’s Child and yet one of the most famous asses in Showbusiness couldn’t be replicated, you all know who I’m talking about.
The film fails as a satire, you don’t care about the drama, and the Patriotism fall flat on it’s face. This is one to avoid. If you are a fan of Ang Lee then rewatch one of the previous hits and just enjoy that. This could either be a blip on the radar or the shape of things to come. Take a long walk, even off a short pier, it would be time better spent!
Director: Ang Lee
Writers: Ben Fountain (based on the novel by), (screenplay)
Stars: Joe Alwyn, Garrett Hedlund, Arturo Castro