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WHITE HOUSE DOWN – Review

September 12, 2013

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


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Another film about an attack on America? You bet! White House Down is the latest action-packed Hollywood entry, fueled by troubled citizens and too much patriotism.

Channing Tatum plays a security guard who tries to win his daughter’s heart by taking her on a tour to the White House. This happens during an incredible heist (obviously an inside-job) backed up by a bunch of angry criminals with a very personal problem with the President.

No need for spoilers but it’s quite easy to infer the whole revenge scheme behind the attack and that makes the essence of the story very underwhelming. However, it does get better as the plot thickens and you realize the count of compromised members of the state keeps growing. Typical.

But don’t dock it just yet. Although the story has been told and re-told a million times in basically every Hollywood action flick, White House Down does not disappoint with its amount of explosives. It isn’t quite Independence Day, but director Roland Emmerich will make you jump out of your seat quite a few times.

Actually, you’re so distracted from the non-stop action that you completely forget that there’s no romance sub-plot in this film. Who needs a sex scene when you’ve got a dare devil Channing Tatum doing everything he can to save the President?

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Beyond all the amazing explosives and fight scenes, the film makes great use of all areas of the White House, streaming outside to the lawn and pool-side. You even get to see plenty of very expensive accessories get smashed about which upsets a particularly patriotic tour guide. Note: he’s the best part of the movie.

What leaves me a bit perplexed is the casting of Jamie Foxx as the President since it takes more than a well-tailored suit and square glasses to channel Barack Obama. Mind you, Jamie does break out the Jordans when the White House is on lock down. Unfortunately, the amount of useless scenes I wished didn’t exist doesn’t make up for the uneven balance of his performance.

Oh, and since when would the President ever make a shout-out on YouTube? This is the most unique aspect of the film: on-site footage captured during this whole White House meltdown does make an excellent example of technology today. In essence, the viral activity both ruins and saves the day, in its efforts to expose things too quickly and too publicly. Well done!

Despite this much silly naiveté, Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum do make a wonderful action team. Their chemistry is so electric I only wish the dialogue didn’t suck so much. The best useless quote of the movie: “No I don’t want cake, I’m diabetic.” Hey, it could’ve been worse…

White House Down is released in UK cinemas tomorrow, Friday, September 13.

Amanda Chen