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Movie Review: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a true story based on Kim Barker’s book The Taliban Shuffle where Tina Fey (pictured above, right) plays Kim Barker, a journalist/publisher at the Chicago Tribune. Barker sits at an office desk typing stories and articles on her computer until one day the boss calls for a meeting to send a journalist to go to Afghanistan to report on the war that is taking place there. Barker sees this as a moment to get out, away from desk and find something interesting to report on so she volunteers to go. 

Barker takes a plane to Afghanistan, quickly foreshadowing how chaotic albeit exciting this experience will be. When Barker arrives she is escorted to the place she will be staying, which is far from what you would call “luxurious.” From there she meets her team: Tanya Vanderpoole (Margot Robbie; pictured above, left), Iain MacKleipe (Martin Freeman), and Brian, also called “Tall Brian” (Nicholas Braun). The team has instant chemistry, which makes for an interesting and unique experience.

WTF had it’s drama but also managed to provide comedy while showing the audience how important it is to support our troops, not only in Pakistan and Iraq, but as well as Afghanistan. It shows us the struggle that each individual goes through in while deployed. Children begging on the streets and riots and fires on every street corner.

The movie makes the audience realize that we might support our troops but we also need to see more of them on the news so we can have even more empathy and motivation to help. Barker strives to get each and every video she captures on the news, however her network producer does not agree. Hearing this, she sticks with her initial plan and moves on, still shooting out in the field getting footage of the brutal conditions that the regular citizens of Afghanistan live through and what the troops fight in.

Showing an expert blend of endurance, determination, loss and – at the same time – happiness and alleviation, the film follows Barker as she literally films behind the soldiers backs. Capturing the combat scenes and interviews with important figures including Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina). This movie will inspire anyone who has doubt on themselves and at the same time make people realize that everything doesn’t come easy. It also shows the struggle journalists have when they want to get one of their stories published and on air.

Journalists have to fight and struggle to just get one story published. I recently had the privilege to interview Barker, the author of The Taliban Shuffle. She spoke of struggles of being a woman journalist in an open war zone: “You know there are certain challenges… but really in Afghanistan it was like we weren’t seen as being Afghani women, we weren’t seen as being foreign men, we were this weird “3rd sex,” so we had access to all the women and you know they would just pull me in and look at my cuticles and play with my hair and comb it,” said Barker.

Overall Barker was pleased with the film and how it came out, “there’s a lot of humanity in this film, they did a great job with it, I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw it, I mean you could imagine my terror right? This book is my baby and it’s great that it gets to have a second life but that last thing I wanted was Anchorman in Afghanistan, I mean I love Anchorman, great movie, but I don’t want to be Will Ferrell.” Tine Fey in her best role as it shows how easily she can walk the line between comedy and drama with ease.


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