“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”

A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13

1 Hour 55 Minutes

Joe Alwyn, Vin Diesel, Steve Martin, Kristen Stewart

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Traditionally, holiday season movies are almost always feel good fluff movies that have nothing in common with the real world. Which makes “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” such a surprisingly gritty pleasure.

Returning veterans from the Iraq war are given a hero’s welcome by the football fans back home, but something just doesn’t feel right. The longer “Bill Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”, the more these comrades in arms realize they’re being used an exploited for some questionably patriotic agenda.

Director Ang Lee didn’t come by his reputation as a superb moviemaker for nothing. Lee even manages to drag a decent performance out of Vin Diesel, whose usually more at home in a mindless “Fast and Furious” role.

These guys really care deeply about each other. The “Band of Brothers” scenario creates an emptiness in their relationships with the folks back home.

As much as Kristen Stewart provides an incentive for Bill Lynn to pack away his uniform, newcomer Joe Alwyn, in a heartfelt debut performance, has more immediate priorities overseas…telling her…”I’m going back in…I have to”.. You can see that “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” is a thoughtful study of men at war with themselves that’s well worth your attention.

It’s not the kind of one-dimensional time killer that gets a lot of play on social media. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” takes you directly to a soiled dramatic experience earning every one of its 3 stars.