Virtues of 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' are concealed by film format
'Billy' stars Joe Alwyn as an Iraq War Army specialist whose heroism makes him a grudging candidate for celebrity back home. The film is directed by Ang Lee.
Much has been made of the fact that Ang Lee’s uneven new movie, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” – about a 19-year-old Iraq War Army specialist (Joe Alwyn) whose heroism makes him a grudging candidate for celebrity back home – was shot in a “revolutionary” new format: a combination of 4K resolution and 3-D at 120 frames per second, five times the standard speed. In practical terms, what this means is that most audiences will end up seeing the plain old alternate 2-D version, since most movie theaters are not equipped to show the super-duper format.
I saw it in an ultra-3-D version that, far from seeming revolutionary, made me think I was watching the film on one of those awful big-screen high-definition TVs with hyperclarity so sharp and glossy as to seem unreal. I suspect that whatever virtues the film possesses – and it does, in flashes, convey the uneasy confluence of jingoism and authentic patriotism – will come through more clearly in 2-D, without all the hype. This is a technological breakthrough, all right, but a breakthrough to what? Grade: B- (Rated R for language throughout, some war violence, sexual content, and brief drug use.)