© Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH

White House Down
U.S.A. 2013

Opening 5 Sep 2013

Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Writing credits: James Vanderbilt
Principal actors: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins

As a Capitol policeman, John Cale (Channing Tatum) guards Speaker of the House Raphelson (Richard Jenkins). Divorced, following two tours in Afghanistan, Cale settled down to put his life in order. On this particular day, Cale has a job interview with the Secret Service assigned to protecting the US President. In an effort to build a relationship with alienated 11-year-old Emily (Joey King), Cale secures a White House pass and brings her along. Concurrently, White House arrivals include: President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) via helicopter with his staff and S.S. Agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), head of the President’s protection team Martin Walker (James Woods). Finnerty, to Cale’s surprise since they were high school classmates, interviews and discounts him. Walker, beginning his last week in office with a surprise retirement cake, tells Finnerty, “don’t make this your life…it’s not worth it, trust me.” Meanwhile, Cale forestalls telling daughter Emily he was passed over by their joining a tour of the White House. At the same time as a group of white supremacists, disillusioned miscreants, and ex-paramilitary infiltrate the White House and set up heavy armament.

A bomb detonates, the coup d’état is underway, and the film shifts into high gear. Cale gets a hands-on job audition with President Sawyer; Donnie (Nicolas Wright) fumes as his tour group cowers, watching the brutes destroy priceless treasures; Emily carries out a coup de grâce; Vice President Hammond (Michael Murphy) is whisked aboard the Air Force One plane, and the stymied Pentagon under General Caulfield (Lance Reddick) watches the situation escalate at an incredible speed. Only one person is in the right place, with the right know-how, at the right time.

Considering the film is loaded with lots of daring feats accompanied by the ubiquitous aggression so currently favored, the story is solid, and the special effects are justifiable. As is this action-thriller’s entertainment value. (Marinell Haegelin)

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