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March 19, 2017

Just watched Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. It’s a well written, superbly acted satire directed by a topnotch director. It’s a picture absolutely worth watching. Yet I felt, even with an A-list director at the helm, that the film had been misdirected. The full bite of the satire seemed off-key. It’s incumbent on directors to make choices. This is what directors do. Here Lee chose a lighter hand when delivering the satire. The characters came off more human less caricature, perhaps at the expense of the satire.

The set-up is brilliant: a look at individual patriotism within the context of the Iraq War set against the over-hyped hoopla and hypocrisy surrounding the NFL’s weekly “circuses.” I’ve felt for a long time that the NFL wraps itself in it’s own self-importance leaving it deserving of a good skewering.

I must confess, I’m comparing Billy Lynn to the gold standard of cinematic satires, Dr. Strangelove and M*A*S*H,  Billy Wilder’s darker than dark Ace In The Hole.

The tone for Lee’s picture seemed off too many times for me to ignore, the pacing too languorous. I wanted more bite, even as I was appreciating the high level of film craft. Tough thing though, conjuring Iraq, patriotism, and the NFL. Bread, circuses, life, lies, and death.

Curious to get your impressions about this worthy film which could easily be overlooked.


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