The trailer’s bang, bang Iraq battle scenes are mixed with poignant moments as Billy (Alwyn) questions his role in the fighting and where he fits in the grand scheme of things.
The movie is based on a 2012 novel by the same name, written by Ben Fountain. It plays off themes of alienation for returning soldiers.
They are greeted with shallow appreciation from Americans who are far removed from, and have no understanding about, the fighting. The government is both exploitative and indifferent.
Billy and his comrades are celebrated as heroes before they are told they are being sent back into the caldron of war.
Stewart plays Kathryn Lynn, Billy’s older sister. She sees the futility and waste of it all and talks to Billy about the limits of his obligations to society and the government.
In the clip, however, she only makes two brief appearances. Her first opens the clip.
“What if you don’t go,” she asks looking distraught.
“I have to Kat,” Billy replies. “I made a commitment.”
Billy is an improbable soldier, who struggles to keep up, until Shroom, (Diesel) takes him under his wing.
“A sorry excuse for a warrior I’m turning out to be,” he says in another poignant moment.
“Make it about something bigger than yourself,” Shroom advises with a fatherly hand on Billy’s shoulder.
The weepiness gives way to fear and adrenaline as Billy and his squad are engulfed in a fierce fire-fight with Iraqis during 2003 invasion.
Out of impulsiveness, fear or loyalty, Billy rushes through enemy fire to save his wounded mentor. A Fox News camera crew catches the whole scene and flashes it around the world. Billy is hailed a hero.
He’s sent on a U.S. victory tour that ends at the Dallas Cowboys’ traditional Thanksgiving Day football game He and his squad are honored during halftime.
Then Billy learns, despite his hero status, he’s being rotated back to Iraq for another tour.
He has conflicted feelings about what he did in combat and how he’s being hailed at home and has a hard time reconciling the two.
The film premiered at the New York Film Festival earlier this month, where Stewart was spotted arm-in-arm with the singer St. Vincent, her new girlfriend.
It will go into limited release on Nov. 11, Armistice Day marking the end of World War I, before getting nationwide distribution on Nov. 18.
Check out the trailer and let us know your thoughts.