Whiskey Tango Foxtrot isn’t an bad film. It is not, however anything new. It wasn’t overly ridiculous in its comedic elements, the war zones that litter Afghanistan were shown with graphic detail, not smoothing anything over for the camera. The acting throughout is convincing and empathetic. Yet it lacks moving parts and appears the single subjective viewpoint makes the film seem lopsided, something that makes us as an audience feel somewhat distance and disengaged from the characters.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a biographical war drama adapted from the memoir of Kim Barker; The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, based around her experiences as an international journalist. The film focuses on and deals with the addictive nature of war, and the thrills that journalists may seek to claim a story or popularity with viewers back home.
The acting throughout the film is superb. Tina Fey has successfully breaks off from her usual comedic antics, which have a tendency to appear almost slapstick. In Whiskey Tango Foxtrot it appears that Fey’s potential as more than just a comedy actor is portrayed as she encompasses the fear and then elation that occurs as her character faces certain challenges.
Martin Freeman is an unlikely charming and likeable figure, who at begins as a somewhat sleazy Scotsman who appears to just want to get into Fey’s pants. The character growth is evident throughout, with Freeman himself portraying a character that is just as addicted to the thrill of war journalism as Fey’s Barker. Parallel to Freeman’s character is Margot Robbie, stepping in as the trope-required ‘gal pal’ of Fey’s character. It could be said that Robbie’s character is underused throughout, appearing on screen to just introduce Fey to the party culture or to create friction between Fey and her character’s job.
Other worthwhile mentions have to go to Alfred Molina and Christopher Abbot who play natives to Afghanistan. While they portrayed their roles excellently – Molina in particular probably gathered the most laughs in the screening – it seems a little odd to cast actors that have no real Afghan heritage as prominent characters instead of actors that were actually Afghan. The casting here it seems has fallen victim to the popular trick of casting actors that are just not quite white, and can thus pass as the chosen ethnicity.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was entertaining at the time, it had funny moments and moments that left you wondering just how our plucky, white girl journalist would go. It is though, your typical ‘woman finds herself’ story, using the backdrop of a foreign country to let an American find out who she truly is. When stripped down to the bones, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot really doesn’t offer anything new.