Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Blu-ray Review
As a rookie journalist (four years in) I can relate to a lot of what happens to Kim Barker (Fey) throughout WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT. Her agreeance to throw her life away to go into dangerous war torn Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in is something I could see myself doing. Her joking while people are dying and the nightly partying as a way to unwind after a stressful day in a warzone is something I can relate with since I’ve done the same, just under different circumstances.
Barker’s trials and tribulations throughout WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT start out in 2003 with her simply adjusting to the hectic overseas life in the mountainous desert. But we know that it’s not going to be a simple three month excursion for her news network. Fast forward to 2006 and the area has become increasingly violent and unstable. Baker’s risk taking becomes less and less televised, making her more frustrated. The casual viewer can understand that this point because she’s literally risking her life every day and night.
Baker is told by her boss that people in the states just aren’t interested in Afghanistan anymore, especially with the Iraq war in full swing. While it’s all fun and games at a glance, the peril mirrored against the absurdity of it all, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT just can’t handle the material. WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT is a jumbled mess trying to tell a true life story. I can’t blame the actors for this because they’re the strongest aspect.
There’s no real balance between comedy and the harsh realities that Barker faces. While Fey allows herself to grow as an actress and show off a dramatic side we’ve never seen before, it never really feels genuine. That’s not Fey’s fault. It’s especially not the fault of Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina and Margot Robbie, who all have bit roles. While they may have a unique place in the story, they have no lasting impact. The hodgepodge direction of the crew behind the camera is at fault.
Scriptwriter, Robert Carlock, has only done comedy sitcoms and is tasked with blending dark comedy in an extremely bleak scenario. The directors have had hit or miss comedies, ranging from CATS & DOGS to BAD SANTA. While BAD SANTA had its own brand of crude dark humor, it’s not like trying to have some light hearted fun in a part of this world where hundreds die a day. Some of the funnier moments happen at the beginning while we’re still being situated and adjusting to the surroundings.
As much as I would love to recommend WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT on Fey alone, I’d feel like it’d be a disservice to the hard work that the real-life Barker put in. Her book, THE TALIBAN SHUFFLE, surely has a more personal touch to what happened, as well as the blunt honesty that came with. The book to movie transition is a clear problem, but WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT may have needed the journalistic touch of actually living, breathing, and seeing the tragic comedy, that is war, unfold.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:85:1) The set designs in WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT is wonderful and every little nuance is captured beautifully on this blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The audio mixing is pristine without any overbearing sound, even in the midst of battle.
All In: The Making of WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (14:12): The cast and crew talk about the making of the movie. They go in-depth on working with Tina Fey as well as the shooting process behind turning New Mexico into Afghanistan.
War Reporter: The Real Kim (5:15): This feature talks with Barker and her experiences overseas. It also shows how much she was involved with the film, which I’m hesitant to believe.
Embedded in Reality (6:23): A behind the scenes look at how they tried to make this as true to life as the American military.
Wedding Party (5:31): This feature looks at a specific wedding scene featuring Tina Fey and Margot Robbie’s character. But this feature goes behind the making of an authentic Afghan wedding.
Laughing Matters (4:24): This features talk about the frat house style of partying that happened in the guest houses in Afghanistan where journalists let loose after a tense day on the battlefield.
Deleted Scenes (5:14): Four deleted scenes altogether. You can play all or individually. It’s a mix of series and comedic moments that were trimmed from the movie.
Extended Scene (4:59): An extended look at the wedding scene, adding way more dramatic dialogue for Robbie and Fey to chew on.