April 3, 2016 by David Dehlendorf
Usually, when I go to see a film, it is because I am eager to see it. That is why I often drive to Bellingham, Seattle or even further to see something I’ve determined I must see sooner rather than later.
By Molly Hogan, San Juan Island
Sometimes, though, I will see something just because it is here. Last week I went to see Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, not expecting much and hoping to be pleasantly surprised. This film is based on the memoir of former war correspondent Kim Barker titled “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan”. Barker, a former reporter for the Seattle Times, had been working as a news copy editor for the Chicago Tribune when assigned to cover events in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2004 to 2009. The book is said to be darkly humorous; the film, not so much.
With a great cast including Tina Fey, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Alfred Molina, this film should have been much better. To me, it just seemed rather flat. I wasn’t really excited about any of the characters. Fey plays Kim Barker, though for some reason, in the film she is Kim Baker. I don’t know why. It was fun to see Martin Freeman portrayed as a man, not a hobbit. Without the shaggy hair and pointy ears, he is really rather cute.
Thornton was fun to watch as General Hollanek, with his southern bad boy swagger translating well to military leadership. Rather late in the film I realized it was Alfred Molina as high ranking Afghan official Ali Massoud Sadiq, hard to recognize under all the facial hair.
Since I went in not expecting much, I wasn’t too disappointed. It’s just two hours of my life I will never have back. Maybe I’ll have better luck with the book.