Whiskey Tango Foxtrot hit cinemas in March, and is a “dramedy” (a drama/comedy hybrid) about a TV news producer turned war journalist, played by Tina Fey, who is sent on assignment to cover the war in Afghanistan. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot might just be the best performance of Tina Fey’s career on the big screen so far, according to the Herald Sun.
The film stars Fey as Kim Baker, a TV producer in her early forties whose career has hit a dead end, and puts her in a situation that no one else in her department would want to be: covering the war in Afghanistan as an embed with the troops stationed in Kabul. Kim is barely qualified for the job, as her time as an on-air talent gave her little training for it.
Tina Fey spoke on her character in the film.
“I play a woman named Kim who is working as a cable news producer and gets the opportunity to go become an on-camera reporter in Afghanistan at a time when her network in very shorthanded abroad. She goes thinking she is going to be there for three months and she ends up staying for three years, three insane, hard-partying years.”
The film was based on a 300-page memoir, named The Taliban Shuffle, by the “real” Kim Barker, who wrote on her experiences as a war correspondent in Afghanistan. The radio station 3AWinterviewed Kim Barker on June 7, 2016, and discussed her impressions of the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot film that resulted from her novel. When she handed her novel over to actor/producer Tina Fey, Kim Barker knew that her book was going to undergo changes. And she was happy to trust Fey to turn her 300-page memoir into a dramedy film.
Although Fey’s character is semi-fictionalized, Barker described the film’s degree of accuracy as “truthy.”
Overall, Barker said she was very happy with the film, and surely she would have been even happier with the fact that her book sales soared after the film was released, according to 3AW.
Listen to the interview here.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, despite the setting, is not a war film by any means. The directors of the film, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, did a very good job of capturing the strange battleground on which America fought the Taliban. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot excels in depicting the close bonds that form amongst those covering and caught up in the ongoing conflict. The city of Kabul gets referred to as “the Ka-bubble,” an alternate reality where sex, drugs, and a rolling bar tab are the only means possible to keep depression at bay, and a place where one’s inner demons can actually form a crucial outer layer of protection.
One of the flaws of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is that though the atmosphere and characters are forcefully vivid, the story never really builds into anything rewarding or colorful. The best things about the film are the interaction and chemistry between the cast. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot still manages to be impressive despite not being funny, thanks to Tina Fey toning down some of her humor in the film, according to SC Times.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is far less laugh-out-loud funny than some people expected. Tina Fey brought her sarcasm into the film, and it might have done the movie more harm than good, but she still managed to do an adequate job of portraying her character well.
The subject matter of the film is far from a joke, but the writers tried to make light of the war by adding small amounts of whimsy here and there. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot works to a large extent because the character of Kim is so reserved and relatable. The world is used to a snarky Tina Fey, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot taught the world that she can still win everyone over even if she decides to tone it down a bit.
Tina Fey was not the only star to steal the show as she shares that deserving point of praise with Margot Robbie, who plays a rival reporter in the film. According to Daily Mail, Tina Fey and Margot Robbie still managed to have fun interacting on set, despite the heavy nature of their roles in the film.
Margot Robbie revealed that her favorite scene to shoot in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was a karaoke scene where they had to pretend to be drunk at 10 a.m. while they were extremely sober.
“My favorite scene to shoot was when we were all doing the karaoke and we were all meant to be sloppy drunk and wasted.”
[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]