Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Left to right: Christopher Abbott plays Fahim Ahmadzai, Tina Fey plays Kim Baker and Billy Bob Thornton plays General Hollanek in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot from Paramount Pictures and Broadway Video/Little Stranger Productions in theatres March 4, 2016.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot documents the journey of an American journalist, Kim Baker (Tina Fey) who seems tired and bored of her monotonous job covering uninteresting news stories. An opportunity arises to cover international news in Afghanistan, she volunteers and is given a three month long assignment. We watch Kim adapt to her new surroundings in Afghanistan and share her reactions of shock at her new surroundings.

From the trailers, I was expecting this to be a raunchy comedy film filled with lots of cursing and, maybe, a little bit of tense war drama. But it is more than a war comedy. It is also a journalistic drama that focuses on how journalists deal with war, how they negotiate with their superiors back in their countries, how far they push themselves to get the news stories, and how they seek refuge the destruction and sadness that comes from war with all night long parties. Tina Fey steals the show in this film and is spot on in her comic timing while delivering emotional scenes equally well. The character development of Kim Baker is very compelling and keeps the audience interested and invested in her story. Her growth as a person overcoming the cultural barriers and exploring her new environment is interesting as well as hilarious revealing a naïve journalist’s perception of the war.

Besides Kim Baker, all other characters of the movie, Margot Robbie as a fellow journalist, Christian Abbot as the translator and fixer and Billy Bob Thornton as the Marine Corps general in the area are also given fair amount of depth. The performance by Margot Robbie is particularly commendable and her scenes with Tina Fey deliver good laughs. It is interesting that the role doesn’t rely on Robbie’s sexual appeal or beauty to show her as a good actress. The film gives us the laughs expected from a comedy movie and intense emotions expected from a drama movie in equal measures. The subject of war is handled brilliantly well in the movie creating a perfect balance in making the audience realise the destruction that comes with war but also adding a humane element to it through the point of view of the outsider, Kim Baker. On one hand while the film explores the dark side of the war with humour, it also points out that the high that comes from working in such dangerous situations can be quite addictive.

The acting, direction and script of the movie give a feeling of being very close to reality. The film starts slow, then gains pace becoming quite thrilling up until that slightly predictable ending. But it still manages to be touching and engaging. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an entertaining film that is exciting, funny and emotionally tense all at the same time, while Tina Fey delivers one of the best performances. It almost introduces a new form of genre of films – something in between a journalistic drama and a war comedy.