Film & TV

Film Review: Whisky Tango Foxtrot

Journalist Kim Baker as lives out a multi-year stint as a field reporter in Afghanistan during the peak conflict times of the post 9/11 war.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot, the latest outing from Tina Fey (Mean Girls, SNL, 30 Rock) takes its name from an internet based play on words. The irony of this is that a viewer walks out of this supposed “comedy” with a different interpretation of WTF – Where’s The Funny?!

Following the life of Kim Baker (Fey) as she lives out a multi-year stint as a field reporter in Afghanistan during the peak conflict times of the post 9/11 war, Whisky Tango Foxtrot tries to hold a mirror up to the Afghanistan war much like Good Morning Vietnam did for the Vietnam War. The difference is that the Robin Williams helmed flick had heart.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot seems unsure of what sort of film it wants to be.It’s not drama as the emotional depth is too shallow. It’s not a thriller as even the most suspenseful moments are resolved within minutes. It’s also not comedy as there are not enough laughs. The films “humour” comes from retogressive wells such as the 1950’s staple ‘women are bad drivers’, and the now ten-year running gag that Tina Fey looks like a boy.

Then there is the way the profession of journalism is treated. Whilst all the characters are presented as cut throat who will put their stories above all else, the moment where the stories occur or the actual reporting of them is largely ignored, missing out on an opportunity to help humanise the characters.

The characters are, for the most part, one dimensional and flat. Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street, Suicide Squad) amounts to nothing more than an afterthought. Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock) seems to exist solely to be the embodiment of misogyny and also to drop the c-bomb multiple times without purpose.

There are some well-acted parts in this film, including Billy Bob Thornton (Armageddon, Bad Santa) as the drier-than-bones-in-a-desert Marine General Hollanek. His connection with the audience had them begging for more screen time from him, which sadly never came.

The biggest issue of all though is that the film is set in Afghanistan yet all the main Afghan characters are played by either Caucasian or Italian men. At least Christopher Abbott (Girls, Martha Marcy May Marlene) treats his character of Fahim with love and respect, making him the best part of the movie. His gentle, soft spoken, humbly religious character helps expose the myth of the ‘Angry Muslim’ so often put forward in today’s media.

Abbott’s performance is almost negated however, by that of English born Alfred Molina (Spiderman 2, The Da Vinci code) and his character Sadiq. His fake beard and accent are as funny as modern day blackface can be. He is actually so unfunny and written so badly that perhaps the reason there are no Afghan actors in this film is because of this character. Either that or they all simply refused to play such an offensive parody of their people.

The editing is incredibly weak, with noticeable cuts and very poor scene transitions, and the direction was so underwhelming one has to wonder whether the seasoned directorial team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa were even on the set of the shoot itself.

In the future, it might be wiser for Tina Fey simply focused more on project she writes herself, and not on vanity side-projects like this.

Reviewed by Adam Gerard
Twitter: @awordwithadam

Rating out of 10:  3


More News

To Top