‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ shows war through new lens

Caroline Cummings

“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is a very fitting title for this blockbuster comedy. Using the military phonetic alphabet to spell out WTF, the title represents how the movie combines the harsh reality of war with crude humor to create a unique but constantly entertaining plot.

Based on the memoir “The Taliban Shuffle” by Kim Barker, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” follows the story of cable news producer Kim Baker  (Tina Fey), who accepts an assignment in Afghanistan to escape her tedious life behind a desk in New York City.

Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa chose to emphasize Baker’s growing dependence on the adrenaline rush she gets from life-threatening situations. However, the development of her addiction is so subtle that it is not noticeable until Baker has to confront it.

Left to right: Christopher Abbott plays Fahim Ahmadzai, Tina Fey plays Kim Baker and Billy Bob Thornton plays General Hollanek in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot from Paramount Pictures and Broadway Video/Little Stranger Productions in theatres March 4, 2016.
LANDING IN AFGHANISTAN, Tina Fey stars as Kim Baker, a cable news producer in the blockbuster film “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.” The movie stars Fey, Margot Robbie and Martin Freeman.

Her friendship with Fahim (Christopher Abbott), her Afghan translator, adds a softer side to the story. They quickly become friends, and Fahim’s obvious but reserved affection for Baker adds a sweet angle to the plot not found elsewhere in the film.

For those not interested in the war aspect of the movie, a love story is also woven throughout, giving the audience a break from the violence. Baker finds herself reluctantly falling for a Scottish photographer named Iain (Martin Freeman).

The film’s use of comic relief makes the plot more approachable for those who do not want to see combat throughout the entire movie. Few scenes show graphic or disturbing violence which helps lower the intensity of an already incredibly heavy topic.

The soundtrack adds to the comedic tone of the movie. In one of the few scenes of conflict, the goofy power ballad “Without You” by Harry Nilsson plays in the background. This can come off as a little disrespectful towards the gravity of war, but it is effective in adding some comedy to one of the few serious scenes.

“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” expertly combines humor and war. Although some parts may seem insensitive, the movie shows a different side of war and doesn’t overload the audience with graphic violence.