movie film review | chris tookey

White House Down

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  White House Down Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
5.42 /10
Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal
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Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Written by: James Vanderbilt

Released: 2013
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 131

Dumb fun.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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If you’re in the mood for spectacular, lowbrow trash, White House Down is the latest experiment in epic stupidity by Roland Emmerich, who brought us such think-pieces as The Patriot, 10,000 BC and Anonymous – that’s the film in which Shakespeare was illiterate, and Queen Elizabeth I an incestuous slut.

Former male-stripper Channing Tatum (pictured right) plays a regular guy who’s taking his little daughter on a tour of the White House when it’s taken over by bad guys. So, of course, he has to save the President (Jamie Foxx, pictured left).

Just like Gerard Butler in Olympus Has Fallen, it takes one good-looking hunk to perform Die Hard-style heroics while everyone else does nothing or makes moronic decisions.

The big difference is that the villains in Olympus were North Korean terrorists. Here, they’re home-grown, with an agenda and tactics that defy rational analysis.

Although Herr Emmerich delights as usual in gung-ho patriotic kitsch, his view of the evil American military-industrial elite surpasses even Oliver Stone’s and Michael Moore’s in its crudeness and absurdity.

In keeping with its politics, many of the climactic action sequences – the White House on fire, Air Force One being shot out of the sky, a car chase on the White House lawn – border on the grotesque.
However, the explosions are colossal, the fights well-staged, and a few of the laughs intentional. Though I was appalled at the movie’s callousness, and less than convinced by its grasp of homeland security issues or right-wing political thought, I was never bored, and the movie runs a massive two hours 11 minutes.

My favourite moment? That’s when the President proves the pen is mightier than the sword by stabbing a man in the neck with one. It’s that kind of movie: violent and extremely literal.

Along with Fast and Furious 6, it’s the dumbest, guiltiest pleasure of the year. It’s ridiculous, of course, politically ignorant and in terrible taste, but what do you expect from Roland Emmerich?

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