Ang Lee never appears to play it safe as a filmmaker: consider the widely acclaimed and Oscar-winning titles that mark his filmography: Sense & Sensibility (1995), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Life of Pi (2012). His latest – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, an intimate dramedy-satire centered around the homecoming of a young soldier, may prove yet another touchdown for the seasoned film director.
Based on Ben Fountain’s best-selling novel and adapted to the screen by first-time credited scribe Jean-Christophe Castelli (who previously worked as a researcher for Lee’s The Ice Storm), Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk has so far been receiving a lot of attention for the unusual mode in which Lee shot the film. Lee shot the film using 120 frames per second, an unprecedented high frame rate that likely proved a challenged for Oscar-winning cinematographer John Toll (Braveheart) and hopefully won’t be for audiences when the film opens this fall – Peter Jackson’s use of 48 frames per second in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, for instance, was largely derided critically.
Unusually, the movie appears to rather intimate in scope considering it’s subject. Newcomer Joe Alwyn portrays the title character, a young Iraq War soldier and celebrated member of the Bravo Squad. As he and his team briefly return home and take part in a Thanksgiving Day halftime show for a football team, the movie flashes back and reveals what really happened on the war field, shifting perspectives between the realities of war and perceptions back at home. The first image of the film showcases Alwyn and highlights the pageantry of the festivities.
Further eye-popping for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is the eclectic ensemble cast. Supporting Alwyn in the film are Kristen Stewart (who is nearing to showcase two film at Cannes – Woody Allen’s Café Society and Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper), Fast and Furious anchor Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund (On the Road), Chris Tucker (Silver Linings Playbook) and Steve Martin (Love the Coopers). Interesting indeed.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk opens in theaters on November 11th.
UPDATE: What do you know – here’s the first trailer.