Ang Lee Pokes at Our Complicity

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is an important story of war and media that falls short of its mighty ambitions. That’s OK. But it made news of Ang Lee’s interest in turning the story into a movie, um, surprising. Then the trailer disappointed. It looked like Lee’s idea to film in the 4K resolution at 120 frames a second had turned the story into a poorly staged home movie. Blah.

But now the author, Ben Fountain, has shed some light on Lee’s technological motives — and what he has been able to accomplish. Turns out that like all the greats, Lee has pushed aside fear and opted for the hard route to break new ground. He has pushed the envelope with technology to move the boundaries of storytelling. It’s a narrative and commercial risk, one that might not be pretty to look at and, like the book, one that might not match its goals. But it is worthy of attention and our time, and our admiration. Lee has shown: