Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)3:31 PM
"A journalist recounts her wartime coverage in Afghanistan". Tina Fey was cast in this film and produced it because many said the role was perfect for her - does she live up to expectations? Was it worth her time and effort to make?
I think it is funny that Whiskey Tango Foxtrot spells WTF because that is the exact reaction I had after I watched the film. The film really has issues with its narrative - it is certainly a recount as there isn't really a clear story there. The film was funny and I did enjoy it but I think it had such big issues with its narrative that I can't recommend you see it unless you like any of the 3 leading stars - Fey, Robbie or Freeman who are all very good here.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot fell into the trap of not having a narrative - yes, it is a recount but you are literally just watching the life of this female journalist go by - there is no structure and the film doesn't really have much point. I think a clear narrative was developed in the last 20 minutes of the film but that was far too late - 90 minutes before that was just extremely sloppy and unpredictable. I thought that many of the characters were one dimensional and didn't have much reason to be there - unfortunately, Robbie's character Tanya is one of those - her character doesn't really have much depth and when interesting things do happen with her, it is just skimmed over. I am actually surprised Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an adaption from a book because the writing and narrative is certainly the weakest element. I find it very hard to sum up what the film is about and clearly do IMDB with their very simple narrative summary. The film also didn't know whether it wanted to be a comedy or a drama and it struggled balancing between the two.
Despite its major flaws, the acting in the film is very strong and all of the stars do what they can with the material they are given. I don't really understand how Tina Fey was made for this role as she wasn't iconic in this film - maybe it was just the description of the character in the film that screamed her name? Fey certainly wasn't bad in the film, she was actually very good and made her character come across as quite likeable - her character and performance just didn't live up to what I expected and didn't really think it was worth being one of the main factors in why this film was made. Margot Robbie was also very good - as I said, her character is very flimsy and one dimensional but she executes the material she has well and did have some funny moments - the twist with her character is a missed opportunity as it could have been much more effective. This is another film in 2016 where Martin Freeman has a different accent - in this he is Scottish - his accent was believable and I thought his performance was strong. His role does become bigger as the film goes on but like most of the other characters, as soon as he becomes important, the film just skips on quite quickly. The acting in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is strong across the board.
Despite all of its flaws, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is very funny and I laughed a lot throughout the film. Some of my favourite jokes involved IKEA bags and sexually active dogs - these were very funny. WTF had many cutaway moments that just added quite a light tone and I would recommend seeing this film if you want a laugh - it tackles serious issues quite light-heartedly but is still dramatic at times. Even though it does struggle to keep a balance and the humour is lost for the last 25 minutes or so, WTF definitely succeeds in being funny.
The camerawork in the film was also quite interesting - you wouldn't see it in your typical Hollywood film. For many of the scenes, the camera was quite shaky which was an interesting choice as it wasn't a high action scene - the camera was shaky/handheld for a sex scene! I think this helped to add an artistic feel to the film.
Despite all of its flaws, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a very likeable film that I would watch again - Yes, it doesn't have a narrative but you're not screaming throughout 'what is the story' - you just roll with it. The performances are fantastic but I don't quite understand the hype surrounding Fey being perfect for the role. The film is also pretty funny which is important. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is the definition of a mixed bag which can only lead to you thinking 'What the F*ck did I just watch?'.