White House Down

Shooting and violence

Bearing some similarity to movies such as Die Hard (1988) and Air Force One, (1997) this is an American action film about an attack on the White House by a paramilitia disenchanted by decisions made by an African-American President of the US.

The film is directed by the same person who brought us Independence Day (1996). In that film aliens attacked the White House.

Here, it is under attack from armed mercenaries. A US Capitol Police officer, John Cale (Channing Tatum), who is twice a veteran of Afghanistan, wants to get a job with the Secret Service, but his hopes are dashed by an interview with Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gylenhaal) who knows him from the past and thinks him quite unworthy for the job. Cale wanted the job to impress his daughter Emily (Joey King), who loves politics, adores the President of the US, and is far from settled in her relationship with her divorced father.

Cale lies about his job interview, and both Emily and Cale join a tour of the white House just as the President, James W. Sawyer (Jamie Foxx), happens to be proposing a peace initiative to 'withdraw all American troops across the entire Middle East.'

The President’s proposal makes a number of people deeply unhappy, including disavowed ex-Delta Force operatives like Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke), a terminally-ill Head of the President’s Secret Service, and two men ambitious to be President. While the tour is in operation, a bomb that has been planted goes off and destroys part of the building.

The White House is put into lockdown, which separates Cale from Emily. The person controlling the invading group is Martin Walker (James Woods), who heads the President’s Secret Service, and he wants revenge for his son’s death in a failed military operation in the Middle East. He wants access to the President’s nuclear launch codes and tries to pressure Sawyer to hand over the codes to mount a nuclear attack. Sawyer refuses, and when the President is assumed to be dead others step forward to assume his office, and do what they think should be done. 

There are multiple explosions, violence on a grand scale, and copious attempts to create obvious contemporary relevance. The movie doesn’t explore the inevitable tensions between the Secret Service and Military Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the plot suffers seriously from the lack of credibility in one armed man being able to save his President, and make that much difference - Peter Sheehan, ACOFB

Starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Joey King, James Woods, Richard Jenkins, and Jason Clarke. Directed by Roland Emmerich. Rated M (Action violence and coarse language). 131 min.

White House Down

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