Whiskey Tango FoxtrotCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Loosely based on war correspondent Kim Baker’s memoirs, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an odd little film about the thrill-seeking lure of war reporting. And while it has a rather light-hearted start things soon get serious.
Tina Fey stars as Baker, a mild-mannered 40-something who writes copy for a news network. With Iraq eating up the air time, the network decides they need someone on the ground in Afghanistan and Kim, as one of the childless, unmarried employees, is an ideal candidate. She’s quickly drawn into the “Kabubble”, as her fellow drink and drug happy journalists call it, and starts throwing herself into increasingly dangerous situations just for the story. It’s certainly a far cry from the usual “white person goes abroad to find themselves” narrative and, unlike many of those, in Baker’s tale the growth and development of the characters feel genuine and un-romanticised.
Aside from a few bewildering casting choices (Girls’ Christopher Abbott as Afghan “fixer” Fahim and Alfred Molina as a rather hammy politician) and a somewhat ridiculous and wholly unnecessary bit of manufactured drama between Baker and Margot Robie’s Tanya Vanderpoel (a fellow journo), Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a genuinely enjoyable film. It’s nice to see Fey in a part where she can finally utilise her full array of talents. Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton are both excellent in their supporting roles as Scottish photographer Iain and General Hollanek respectively. The humour is for the most part excellent and though there are a few sequences that toe the line between funny and slightly offensive, there’s no shortage of laughs to be had. What’s interesting here is the balance between the humour and the sobering moments dealing with the reality of war and the danger frontline correspondents put themselves in just for ratings.
What is most rewarding, however, is watching Baker’s gradual development across the film and her ultimate decision at the end. It’s an honest tale of empowerment and growth, and a thoroughly entertaining watch.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is released nationwide on 13th May 2016.
Watch the trailer for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot here: