Study Guide

Albert Ratner in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

By Ben Fountain

Albert Ratner

Albert's a big-shot movie producer with three Best Picture Oscars from a few decades ago. He took a break from da biz after a monumental flop, but now he's back from his self-enforced sabbatical, and he wants to break out on his own by producing Bravo's story.

Here's how Fountain introduces this odd fish to us:

Albert is in his late fifties, a big-boned, fleshy man with an unruly cloud of mostly gray hair and thick, wiry hedgerows of midlength sideburns. He wears black-frame glasses with round lenses. He chews gum. His hands are large and knuckly, and dark clumps of jungle growth sprout from his ears. Today he's wearing a white dress shirt with the collar open, a navy blazer with a lining of brilliant scarlet, a black cashmere overcoat and cashmere scarf, and sleek, dainty loafers that appear to be made of pliable chocolate bars. This crossfire of dishevelment and suavity provides no end of fascination for Billy, and from it he infers a worldliness that could eat Bravo for breakfast and swallow the bones. (Begins.30)

Toward the end of the novel, Albert gives Dime and Billy the idea that he's on Norm's side of the money negotiations, which makes us think he's going to screw Bravo over…but it turns out he's a good guy. He sticks with Bravo whatever they decide, and he'll keep plucking at the movie stuff while they're back in Iraq.

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