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.

Mary Cybulski/Sony-TriStar Pictures/AP
Joe Alwyn appears in a scene from 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.'

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.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Virtues of 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' are concealed by film format
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Movies/2016/1111/Virtues-of-Billy-Lynn-s-Long-Halftime-Walk-are-concealed-by-film-format
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe