I don’t write fan letters. But when I watched CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour doing a live standup in front of rioters in Haiti about 20 years ago and got the story to the viewer, I wrote her a letter. And she wrote back.
I have always admired war correspondents. They do a job that I would never have the courage to do. I’m happy to stick to sports reporting and other stories that don’t require a flak jacket.
That’s why I liked “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” which hit the theaters this spring and which I saw on DVD recently.
It’s based on the book by Kim Barker, who covered the Middle East for the Chicago Tribune.
Tina Fey stars as Kim Baker, who bored with her stagnant television news writing job, agrees to a short-term assignment covering the war in Afghanistan.
She has never taken an assighment such as this before and it’s a shock. She is befriended by British television reporter Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) and Scottish freelance photographer Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman) and is helped by her Afghan assistant Fahim Ahmadzai (Christopher Abbott).
She gets the hang of her new job and “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” shows the life she leads and that of her colleagues — living on the edge through dangerous assignments, dealing with bosses who are losing interest in the Afghan War quickly and some hard partying. Baker stays on and becomes a seasoned war correspondent and becomes capable of putting Afghani Attorney General Ali Massoud (Alfred Molina) in his place after some unwanted behavior on his part.
Billy Bob Thornton plays Marine General Hollanek who annoyed with Baker at first, grows to respect her.
There are some comedic elements in this film, but Fey is in new territory of drama. I have read reviews critical of her performance. But directors Glenn Ficcara and John Requa and screenwriter Robert Carlock didn’t force Fey to hit a home run drama wise. They needed her to hit a double and she did.
“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” tanked at the box office. Perhaps it was the subject matter or it was one of those movies that people wanted to watch at home and avoid the financial investment of a trip to the theater. It might have been more successful as say perhaps an HBO movie.
Regardless, I found it a solid movie about people who have more courage than I ever would.
RATING — *** stars
UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .