Thursday, March 3, 2016

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Like most films set in battle zones, including many that were intended to be anti-war, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot glamorizes armed conflict by stressing the romantic intensity of life lived and relationships forged under the shadow of death, an intensity that carries an atavistic appeal for young people hungry to test their mettle. But by making the fantasy of proving oneself by heading off to a foreign war its central theme, then taking an honest look at some of the messier ethical dilemmas that lurk beneath that narrative, the film lopes into some surprisingly complicated and thought-provoking territory.

Journalist Kim Barker, whose book The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan the film is based on, has been slightly renamed and made somewhat more Hollywood-friendly. Kim Baker (Tina Fey) works for visuals-heavy TV rather than boring old print and has a best friend, Tanya (Margot Robbie), who's a composite of a few of the fellow journalists Barker befriended during her three years in Afghanistan and Pakistan—and apparently a few clicks more gorgeous than any of them. Her stint has also been simplified, as the Pakistan portions have been excised for no reason it seems other than to prevent the story from getting too complicated.

Read the rest in Slant Magazine

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