Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is nothing what you would expect if you have viewed any of the trailers. The film is pitched to audiences as a whacky foreign correspondent tale of a newswoman trying to navigate the crazy wartime atmosphere of Afghanistan in the early 2000s. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Based on the book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, the movie stars Tina Fey taking on a dramatic role as mild-mannered news copy writer who is thrust into the war zone and becomes addicted to the hectic and dangerous work she’s doing in the name of news.
After showing her serious side as an actress in 2013’s Admission, Fey once again ditches the hokey jokes and gives us a character with flaws and issues in the form of Kim Baker in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. There are some humorous scenes sprinkled through the film, but for the most part the movie is a character study about the journalists who put themselves in danger to get earn a couple of minutes on the nightly news. The film could be deemed light by some with its depictions of war, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot still gets its message across about the horrors of the battlefield.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot also pulls the curtain back as to how these reporters and soldiers live their lives and coexist with one another in a place where the residents want to harm you. Along the way the audience meets some great characters including Martin Freeman as a charmingly sleazy war zone photographer, Alfred Molina as a shady Afghan Political figure and the beautiful Margot Robbie as a star correspondent with a wild side. Plus we get Billy Bob Thornton playing to perfection a hard-nosed general with some great one liners.
The standout side character, who oddly brings a conscious to Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is Christopher Abbott as a local Afghan press member and guide Fahim Ahmadzai. This character could have easily taken Whiskey Tango Foxtrot into cheesy territory, but instead gives the people of the hostile land a voice and better understanding of their culture. Abbott’s scenes with Fey are some of the best in the film and makes the story believable and oddly relatable.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. Fey gives some edge to Kim with the help of an R rating that allows the film to have a sense of rawness to the action on-screen. Hopefully, Fey continues to work in the dramatic field and show off her skills as an actress like she did in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Overall, I give Whiskey Tango Foxtrot a surprising 3 out of 4 stars.