Film Review by Jarred Tito
When reporter Kim Barker’s (Tina Fey) life needs something more, she decides to 'shake it all up’ by taking an assignment in a war zone. There, in the midst of chaos, she finds the strength she never knew she had. Sometimes it takes saying ‘WTF’ to find the life you were always destined to have.
I found this film to be a mixture of comedy and drama which made it hard for me to completely lock into the plot. Having said that, this is a well shot and thought out story which I would imagine, didn't have the huge funding that so many Hollywood films do these days. It's funny in parts and quite disturbing in others. I guess it's a film that has, as it's mandate, the sole purpose of informing the people of the world of what was going on and is going on in Afghanistan. A country that has almost entirely lost its own identity after so many invasions and wars.
The story is based on real people and real events which gives it a certain amount of authenticity. It's shot on location, somewhere in the Middle East with locals making up the vast extras. For many parts of the movie there was this certain feeling that you get when you are watching a documentary. It's very gritty and unashamedly raw which may leave a few feeling a little uncomfortable. Bombings, acts of terrorism, kidnappings and general poverty and chaos are the norm. And then there are the tourists and the journalists who are completely out of touch with reality. For example, Tina Fey and Margot Robbie have a woman to woman discussion about the 'base' needs of singleness which will leave you either 'gob-smacked' or laughing out loud.
Billy Bob Thornton has a meaningful contribution to the story line as he plays a cynical yet co-operative Marine Colonel who makes Tina Fey's stay in Afghanistan a little more bearable. He plays a very dry character who is still very entertaining. Quite possibly my favourite character in the story.
Alfred Molina has a stab at playing an Afghanistan politician who takes a romantic interest in Tina Fey. There are a set of awkward moments involving himself and actress Tina Fey which do play a part in the 'thin' developing plot, but not really significant enough to shake up the plots overall momentum. Although I like Molina as an actor, particularly his work in 'Coffee and Cigarettes', his character (not his performance) is too comical which results in losing some of the important realism that I believe this film needed more of.
Martin Freeman of Hobbit fame plays a good supporting role as Fey's love interest. It's good to see him in a more natural role again. Having said that, he'll always be the 'straight playing voice of reason' as he does so well in 'The Office'.
An entertaining film that provides a little insight into the 'behind the scenes' of the forgotten war of Afghanistan. You'll certainly find many parts of this film enjoyable.
Releases: 21st April 2016
Duration: 112 minutes
Genre: Comedy Drama
Duration: 112 minutes
Genre: Comedy Drama
Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina
Director: John Requa (Focus, Crazy, Stupid, Love)
In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey said the film is dedicated to her father, Donald Fey, who died during filming. Fey has since set up a scholarship fund for veterans who want to study journalism.
In a February 2016 interview with NPR, Kim Barker, who wrote "The Taliban Shuffle", the book that was the basis for this movie, said Tina Fey first became interested in the memoir when Michiko Kakutani reviewed the book for the New York Times. Kakutani said Barker "depicts herself as a sort of Tina Fey character."
The film's title is military phonetic alphabet for, and a humorous allusion to, the abbreviation "WTF".
Martin Freeman's character Iain MacKelpie wears a green Celtic FC scarf throughout the first half of the film. Celtic FC are a Scotish Football Club. Martin Freeman is an English actor playing a Scot. England and Scotland's Football (soccer) rivalry dates back to the late 1800s.