“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” enlists a top notch Trailer

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Late last week, we got a hell of a Trailer for what could be a major Oscar player this year. The film in question? Well, it’s none other than Ang Lee’s upcoming take on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I’ve read this book and can vouch for it as a quality drama, though not one that I’d initially have pegged as a Lee project. Still, in some ways that only makes this transition from book to film even more interesting. Lee has an incredible visual eye and can elevate the prose to something even more cinematic. The potential here for the movie is rather endless, with the Trailer in question doing nothing to not make me assume this is a huge contender. You can see it below, but first…some discussion is in order.

The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ben Fountain. Set mostly during Thanksgiving Day, it follows the title character Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) and his platoon as they’re honored during the halftime show of a Dallas Cowboys football game for their heroism. As Billy and his fellow soldiers are feted, he flashes back on what really happened back in Iraq, which has shaken him to his core. There’s also time spent with his protective sister Kathryn (Kristen Stewart), who wants him to stay home and not go back to war. For the most part, Billy and his crew just deal with the dichotomy of being labeled a hero back home and the actions that got them there while abroad. It’s really a character study, though I suspect the war flashbacks will be pretty visceral. Lee obviously directs, with the adaptation penned by Jean-Christophe Castelli. Besides Alwyn and Stewart, the cast includes Steve Martin, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, Chris Tucker, Tim Blake Nelson, Makenzie Leigh, Beau Knapp, and many more. Cinematography is by John Toll.

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From the looks of this first Trailer, Lee and company have really nailed the spectacle as well as the emotion. Lee is once again utilizing state of the art technology and visuals to make this flick appear like nothing else in history. He succeeded with that in a big way last time out with Life of Pi, so you have to imagine he’s more than up to the task here. He’s tackled a good book, so if the screenplay is up to snuff and Alwyn makes a strong debut, the possibilities are endless. On paper, there’s a hell of a lot to like about Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, I can really thoroughly assure you of that much.

Awards wise, I think you have to look at this one as an across the board contender. Barring a disaster, campaigns will be launched in Best Picture, Best Director (for Lee), Best Actor (for Alwyn), Best Supporting Actor (for Diesel, Hedlund, Martin, and/or Tucker), Best Supporting Actress (for Stewart), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Castelli), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects. It’s too early to say where it will hit just yet, but assuming the quality is there like the Trailer suggests, contention for multiple nominations shouldn’t be much of a struggle.

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Right at this moment, you have to assume that this is going to be a huge player. The Trailer below that you’ll get to scope out should leave you with no doubt, but even without seeing it, you should have this one down in your predictions. We still have plenty of time until it hits theaters, with a fall festival debut almost a certainty (I’m looking at you, New York Film Festival), but there’s just too much here suggesting strong work to bet against it. I completely understand not predicting it as the Best Picture frontrunner, and hell, even I’m not doing that, but it seems like as safe a pick for one of those nomination slots as any right now. We’ll see what happens between now and the late fall/early winter, but bet against Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk at your own peril…

Here now is the Trailer for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk:

Stay tuned for plenty more on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk in the months to come before its release!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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