**The following is an in-depth review of “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” and does contain spoilers.**
"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" is adapted from the non-fiction book "The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Tales from Afghanistan and Pakistan" by Chicago Tribune journalist Kim Barker. The movie, like the book, chronicles Kim's exploits while a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan.
Kim - in the movie her surname is changed from Barker to Baker - is working as a copywriter for a television news channel - again, changed from newspaper to television for the film - when the opportunity to go to Afghanistan to cover the war comes through. Feeling that her cubicle job is extremely dull, she jumps at the chance to go.
Once in Afghanistan, she discovers that the life of a foreign correspondent is full of partying and debauchery. Seriously, the frat boys of "Animal House" have nothing on these reporters.
When Kim first arrives in Kabul she is quickly introduced to Tanya Vanderpoel - played by Margot Robbie - who acts as her conduit into the lifestyle of what she calls the Kabubble. Tanya quickly explains to Kim that women in Kabul score much higher on the "hotness scale" than they did back in the U.S. She tells Kim that she was probably a six back home, but that she's more like a nine in the Kabubble.
The film begins to go back and forth from news report to after hours party, and to be honest the only thing that really happens is that Kim takes too many risks and puts a lot of people in danger. During her news-gathering scenes, Kim shows herself to be very much like Lois Lane, doing whatever it takes to get the story. The problem, though, is that she doesn't seem to really care who gets killed in the process.
The first line in Barker's book is, "I had always wanted to meet a warlord." While this line isn't in the film, it really should have been because it really tells you everything you need to know about Kim's character. The film does a good job of showing you her vileness, ironically without even meaning to.
Kim Baker is an extremely self-centered character. As interest in the war stateside begins to wane, and her network gives her less and less airtime, she begins to try to find a story that will reignite the public's interest. Not because she really thinks the people should know what's going on, but because she doesn't want to have to leave the life she's built in the Kabubble.
Kim has no character arc, either. At no time does she truly see the error of her ways, and she remains wholly unlikable throughout the film. The closest thing she has to a redeeming scene is when - once back in the states - she goes to visit a wounded soldier to apologize for being the cause of him losing both of his legs to an IED.
The film is extremely boring. There is only so much partying one can watch in a movie before you just feel like throwing in the towel. Nothing of merit happens throughout the first two acts, and while the story does start to have a purpose in the third act, by then you've already given up and are lucky to still be awake. It is good to know, though, that while our servicemen and women are dying to fight terrorism the members of the media are having one big frat party.
When the film does show US servicemen - Marines, actually - they are portrayed as being completely incompetent. One Marine says that he never carries his M4 loaded with a round in the chamber. Kim, of course, decides it is necessary to include this fact in her broadcast, which directly leads to that Marine being wounded in combat.
"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" currently holds a 61 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with the critical consensus being "While WTF is far from FUBAR, Tina Fey and Martin Freeman are just barely enough to overcome the picture's glib predictability and limited worldview."
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