Posted May 16 2016
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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - This Movie Rocks. The Kasbah. (More Than Rock The Kasbah Did)

Dir:Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Starring Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Christopher Abbott, Alfred Molina

The blessed Tina Fey goes to war. And in most part, in fairly impressive style, mixing laughs, a dash a pathos and – given the subject matter – a little bit of politics. (Although careful – not too much.)

Fey plays TV newswoman Kim Barker, on whose book, The Taliban Shuffle, this WTF movie is based. Expanding on her delightful range, the actress surrounds herself with former producing partners Robert (30 Rock) Carlock and Lorne (SNL) Michaels, and heads off to Afghanastan. Even tough here she has renamed Barker as Baker, the story is that of a woman both finding herself – and almost losing herself - in the hedonistic world of frontline war journalism and the adrenaline rush of the embed.

It’s a smart movie at times, although one that creates a great surface that it is often reluctant to delve too far beneath. This is very much the story of (as she calls herself ) a “white woman”, rather than it is a look at the nature of a foreign country, one in which American intervention is seen as a natural thing, one that’s under-appreciated if anything.

But politics are not the film’s strengths or major focus. Fey is superb as ever, offering more than she usually gets to do. Robbie confirms her star status, Billy Bob is as compulsively watchable as ever, and Martin Freeman does a very decent turn in Scottish love interest. But the most impressive performance all round is that of Abbott as Baker’s local contact Fahim. It is down to him to expand the scope of the storytelling, and present at least a insightful glimpse of the country that these journos have, in their own way, also “invaded.”

WTF is a strong film, a funny film (though rarely in a laugh out loud way), an occasionally clever film. One that's tinged with a sense of the impact of the events it depicts. And features a great re-working of Zero Dark Thirty to a completely incongruous Harry Nilsson.

 

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