White House Down Screen 15 articles

White House Down

2013

White House Down Poster
  • White House Down is terrible. The acting? The effects? The villainy? All bad. The politics are a hot mess. The music sounds as if it flunked out of the Academy for How to Make an Action Movie Sound American. Any image lingered on by the camera for longer than three seconds, any bit of dialogue delivered in bold-italics-underline, is bound to recur later as a punch line...

  • Director Roland Emmerich has been to this self-mockingly jingoistic well way too often. What played as rousingly dumb fun in Independence Day (1996)—all those pie-eyed nationalistic monologues, and U.S. landmarks reduced to rubble—now come off as callously insensitive, even with tongue firmly in cheek.

  • Essentially, there isn't an action-movie trope or extravagance to which Emmerich says no. And while certain sequences, like a jaw-droppingly gonzo car chase around the White House grounds, are well worth the eventual YouTube search, most elements comprise a strata of ridiculousness, like the ever-mounting motives of an immediately unmasked villain.

  • I, for one, was certainly glad when it was over. Others will no doubt enjoy the action stuff, the interactions between its two heroes and the adorable sentimental flag-waving triumphalism. Which is all good, I guess. Anybody who falls for any of the movie's ostensible "plot twists," though, are not people I would want to see operating heavy machinery.

  • Emmerich revels in the outlandish spectacle of the event, filming from a bird’s-eye to properly convey the grandiose stupidity on display. For all its welcome silliness, White House Down eventually succumbs to its more derivative impulses. The final act is so bloated with plot that you almost forget the spry nature of the early sequences.

  • For all the visual gloss, problems are evident throughout. With an exposition-heavy beginning, the film lumbers to a start, and loose strings make the multiple re-writes evident. By the time we get to the climax, White House Down starts to feel less enjoyably ludicrous and more legitimately ludicrous. Caffeine and patriotism can only go so far.

  • It’s surely Obama-as-action-hero that’s the main achievement in White House Down – and perhaps the reason why the film wasn’t such a big hit, having been released four years too late. I suspect it’ll age well, both as rip-roaring (if familiar) action movie and because it’s such a Time-capsule, reflecting America’s (and the world’s) brief infatuation with a US President who seemed more human than his predecessors.

  • Say what you will about “Olympus Has Fallen,” but it was relatively lean and tried to make a kind of sense... This is dumb cinema writ in the largest letters possible. No one’s taking it seriously and everyone (well, maybe not a weary Richard Jenkins, as speaker of the House) seems to be having a good time.

  • Politically, Emmerich fakes toward the blue states (Foxx, an obvious Obama stand-in, wants to pull American forces out of the Middle East) before pitching to the red (by the end the commander-in-chief has learned how to fire a rocket launcher). But the lavish spectacle of Washington coming unglued may have its most eager audiences overseas, where a movie like this really pulls in the bucks.

  • While White House Down isn’t going to score points for originality, seriousness, or subtlety (Emmerich likes his political messages blunt and loud), it is a lot of fun; if nothing else, Emmerich is a great widescreen showman who knows how to stage mayhem on a grand scale. Compared to something like A Good Day To Die Hard, his compositions and camera movements look downright elegant.

  • The script, by James Vanderbilt of "The Amazing Spider-Man," is hip. Bad enemy boys can be diabetic; a White House tour guide (a truly witty turn by Nicolas Wright) begs the marauders to be careful of the national artifacts. President Sawyer, as imagined by Foxx, is a lot of fun ("I'm not doin' that shit!" he yells out watching Cale working some dangerous cables in the elevator shaft they're trapped in).

  • This welcome throwback to an earlier, more generously entertaining era of summer blockbusters delivers a wide array of close-quarters combat and large-scale destruction, all grounded in an immensely appealing star turn by Channing Tatum and ace support from imperiled POTUS Jamie Foxx.

  • [Emmerich] makes the opening siege unsettling enough to grab your attention and then, once he has it, begins folding in lighter moments — one-liners, cartoonish bits of business, laughably impossible situations and stunts — that ensure that at least this American collapse doesn’t end up feeling too heavy.

  • As gristly, undigested globs of American fear, American hope and semi-justified American paranoia go, “White House Down” is both highly entertaining and perfectly timed (in a way that can only be accidental).

  • Surprising proof that Hollywood still can craft a memorable studio comedy, Roland Emmerich's White House Down stands as a singular achievement in parody, its auteur's intentions be damned. It's not just a pitch-perfect attack on every risible plot point afflicting today's all-exposition-and-explosion filmmaking, it's also a mad liberal's vision of an America beset by white wingnut terrorists...

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