Sunday 22 September 2013

White House Up: James Vanderbilt

I wasn't going to write about movies again for a while after the glut of summer blockbusters. But this was such a surprise that I simply couldn't resist.

I'd expected to dismiss White House Down out of hand. It had been preceded by another Die-Hard-in-the-White-House movie called Olympus Has Fallen which was very weak indeed. And at first I thought White House Down was heading the same way. ("You've heard of the military industrial complex?")

But in fact it was a real surprise. An outstanding, vastly enjoyable thriller. 

My first inkling that a treat was in store came with a scene between Channing Tatum and a squirrel.  However, I was completely sold after the following exchange between Tatum's character John Cale and his estranged 11 year old daughter. "We're both adults here, John," says the little girl. "Speak for yourself," says Cale.

The inclusion of a child for the hero is just one of the intelligent choices the excellent script makes.

White House Down is superbly written by James Vanderbilt who also previously transmuted an unpromising project with his script for The Losers (co-written with Peter Berg, based on material by Andy Diggle).

White House Down features a first rate cast and Roland Emmerich does a splendid, bravura job of directing — as he tends to do when working from a good script. The film makes none of the mistakes of Olympus Has Fallen and makes all the right choices where that earlier movie made all the wrong ones.

If you're looking for a rousing, cleverly constructed thriller then hasten to the cinema.

(Image credits: All the images, including the one of Channing Tatum and Joey King as his daughter, were from a very useful site called Ace Show Biz. Thanks, folks!)

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