Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, best known for his cinematic masterpieces such as Life of Pi, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain, has used revolutionary new technology in his latest movie Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk as he wanted to show the realities of war.
Lee has employed a technology in the film that has never been utilised in cinema history before, which is to shoot the film at a frame rate of 120 frames per second as compared to the normal 24 frames per second and in resolution of 4K and 3D.
Employing state-of-the-art cameras to shoot in native 3D and high resolution, Lee has created a new way for audiences to experience drama, presenting the heightened sensations that young soldiers feel on the battlefield and the home front.
“People talk about technology and they relate it to action and spectacle. To me they should do the service of drama. The precious thing is the technology for me is to study faces,” the director said.
He hoped that there will be a “culture in development” and new attitude in terms of employing technology and engaging in theatrical experience.
“I realize we are in digital cinema whether you like it or not,” he said.
Lee knew he was entering uncharted territory with the use of technology and yet he also believed that it was the best way to tell the story in an authentic way.
“I stepped into a new world with this movie,” he said. “The use of the high frame rate and high dynamic range will provide, I hope, a unique opportunity to feel the realities of war and peace through the protagonist’s eyes. It’s not a political statement as much as an opportunity to experience what the characters do on a human, emotional level.”
The story of the film is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (played by newcomer Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour.
Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s perceptions.
“I thought that taking a platoon from the battlefield on to this Thanksgiving Day halftime show as some sort of celebration of valour would freak them out.
“The difference between the heroics that people project on them and their experiences on the battlefield where it’s just chaos, a fight for survival ... the adrenaline level is extraordinary,” he said.
Based on the acclaimed bestselling novel by Ben Fountain, the movie also stars Vin Diesel, Chris Tucker, Steve Martin and Kristen Stewart.
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