First, the Recap:
Back from his most recent deployment and being heralded as a hero, American solider Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) joins his fellow company members on a victory tour of the U.S.. His commander, Dime (Garrett Hedlund), strives to keep the men behaving properly while struggling to put the entire tour in perspective for them even as Billy’s flashbacks to what really occurred while in country paints a vividly different picture and reality than what the U.S. citizenry perceives when honoring the men. Battling his own insecurities of not feeling like a hero while remembering a fallen comrade Shroom (Vin Diesel), confronting a family glad to have him home but a sister, Kathryn (Kristen Stewart), who adamantly doesn’t want him going back to war, an arrogant businessman Norm (Steve Martin), and a newfound chance at love with cheerleader Faison (Makenzie Leigh), Billy’s contemplations can only lead to one unequivocal choice.
Worth Seeing: YES
With 2-time Academy Award-winner Ang Lee at the helm and based on the novel by Ben Fountain, this is yet another offering I will term a “necessary film” to see in that it once again reminds us how we as people often choose to consider and comprehend the soldiers fighting the Iraqi war vs. the all-too-harrowing, gut-wrenching realities of what these men (and women) have actually seen and endured in service to their country. These poignant and harsh realizations are deftly portrayed here with intensity and vigor, showcasing how even after the battle faced is over on the field, the war still rages inside when these warriors try to acclimate to “normal” life. Alwyn is superb as Billy, emoting extremely well and presenting the inner and outer fights he faces with poise and fire. All the supporting ensemble cast is excellent, with the additional mention of Chris Tucker as the men’s PR rep Albert, trying to get them movie deals and extra money.
With its powerful drama and imagery, this is another potent illustration of how the war never truly leaves these men, even when in the safety of home, and that sometimes, the desire to maintain their sense of normalcy might just be going back to the hell they came back from.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!