“They just make you worse, but I know I’ll see your face again”.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a war film, yes. But it’s not ‘A’ war film so to speak.
War is about sides, and normally this applies to those fighting against one another and to those that become the ‘collateral damage’ of these exchanges.
But Whisky Tango Foxtrot presents one other side;
Based on the book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days In Afghanistan And Pakistan” by Kim Barker, a journalist recounts her wartime coverage in Afghanistan.
Starring Tina Fey as Kim Baker (as to not deviate from the non-fiction too much), Whiskey Tango Foxtrot propels our protagonist into the war zone of Afghanistan (Kabul to be precise).
Having left her boyfriend (Josh Charles) back in America, she finds herself turned from Producer to Field Reporter amongst Marines led by General Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton), and trying to find herself amongst the ‘Kabubble’ with fellow Journalist, Tanya Vanderpol (Margot Robbie) and Photographer, Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman).
A strong cast surrounds a magnetic Fey in a light-hearted showcase of a journalists self-discovery in a country riddled by war.
Filtered under yellows and browns, emphasising the desert area they inhabit, the film is playful with the story as the character develops a self-confidence that pushes her to be more than the ‘desk jockey’ she had previously been.
It finds itself darkly humorous, with orgy-filled parties firing off as much as the bullets do.
High-end ordinance used on low-end vehicles and hyper-sexualised Scottish photographers find themselves riffing off about the “dangers of New Zealand”, while the always-out-of-water Baker grows.
But as is the way, a world like that which is tearing itself apart, can only satiate so much of the human condition.
As Baker unwittingly falls further and further into the rabbit hole, the mess caused by those vying for power in so many areas, unravels around her as the movie starts to “sober up”.
The film itself asks “what’s at the end of this?”.
And what it is, is a hope that she walked out of there ‘alive’ in every sense of the word.
Light-hearted and then suddenly sobering, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot shows another side of war and its cost with humour and talent in abundance