White House Down
|White House Down|
|Directed by||Roland Emmerich|
|Written by||James Vanderbilt|
|Edited by||Adam Wolfe|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$205.4 million|
White House Down is a 2013 American action film directed by Roland Emmerich and written by James Vanderbilt. In the film, a divorced US Capitol Police officer named John Cale attempts to rescue both his daughter Emily and the President of the United States James Sawyer when a massively destructive terrorist assault occurs in the White House. The film stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Joey King, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, and James Woods.
Released on June 28, 2013 by Sony Pictures, White House Down received mixed reviews from critics toward the screenwriting and the clichéd storyline, although the performances and action sequences were praised. The film was a box office bomb, grossing over $205 million worldwide against budget of $150 million. White House Down was one of two films released in 2013 that dealt with a terrorist attack on the White House; the other, Olympus Has Fallen, was released three months earlier.
U.S. President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) makes a controversial proposal to remove military forces from the Middle East. Divorced veteran John Cale (Channing Tatum) works as a Capitol Police officer assigned to Speaker of the House Eli Raphelson (Richard Jenkins), whose nephew, Corporal Dawson, he saved while serving in Afghanistan. Cale hopes to impress his daughter Emily (Joey King) by interviewing for the Secret Service Presidential Detail, getting tickets for them to tour the White House. His interviewer, Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a college acquaintance, deems him unqualified for the job.
Meanwhile, a bomb is detonated in the United States Capitol, collapsing the rotunda and sending Washington, D.C. into lockdown. Finnerty escorts Raphelson to an underground command center in the Pentagon, while Vice President Alvin Hammond (Michael Murphy) is taken aboard Air Force One. A team of mercenaries led by ex-Delta Force operative Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke) infiltrate the White House and overwhelm the Secret Service, seizing the building. The tour group is taken hostage in the Blue Room by white nationalist Carl Killick (Kevin Rankin), but Cale escapes to search for Emily, separated during the tour. Retiring Head of the Presidential Detail Special Agent-in-Charge Martin Walker (James Woods) brings Sawyer to the PEOC beneath the White House Library. Inside, Walker kills Sawyer's detail, including fellow agent Ted Hope (Jake Weber), revealing himself as the leader of the attack, apparently seeking vengeance against Sawyer for his Marine son, Kevin Walker, who was killed in a botched mission in Iran the year prior. Cale kills a mercenary, taking his weapon and radio, and rescues Sawyer after overhearing Walker.
Walker brings in ex-NSA analyst Skip Tyler (Jimmi Simpson) to hack the PEOC's defense system, but requires Sawyer to activate the nuclear football. Killick catches Emily filming the intruders on her phone and takes her hostage. Cale and Sawyer contact the command structure via a scrambled satellite phone in the residence, whereas Finnerty uses Emily's YouTube video to discover the mercenaries' identities. Cale and Sawyer try to escape via a secret tunnel, but find the exit rigged with explosives. They escape in the presidential limo but are chased by Stenz and fall into the White House pool. With Sawyer and Cale presumed dead in an explosion in the cabana, the 25th amendment is invoked; Hammond is sworn in as president. Cale and Sawyer, still alive, learn Hammond has ordered an aerial incursion to re-acquire the White House, but the mercenaries shoot down the helicopters. Learning Emily's identity from the video, Stenz takes her to Walker in the Oval Office. Hacking into NORAD, Tyler launches a missile at Air Force One from Piketon, Ohio, killing Hammond and everyone on board. Raphelson is sworn in as president and orders an air strike on the White House.
Sawyer surrenders himself to save Emily. Walker, blaming Iran for Kevin's death, demands Sawyer use the football to launch nuclear missiles against various Iranian cities. Sawyer refuses, while Cale sets fire to several rooms as a diversion. Tyler inadvertently triggers the tunnel explosives and is vaporized. Killing most of the mercenaries and freeing the hostages with the help of tour guide Donnie Donaldson (Nicholas Wright), Cale blows Stenz up with a grenade belt. Sawyer attacks Walker, but in the fight Walker uses Sawyer's handprint to activate the football and shoots Sawyer, much to Emily's fury. Before Walker can finally launch the missiles, Cale crashes a reinforced Chevrolet Suburban into the Oval Office and kills him with the car's rotary cannon. Emily runs outside and waves off the incoming fighter planes with a presidential flag, calling off the air strike. Sawyer survives thanks to a pocket watch once belonging to Abraham Lincoln that stopped Walker's bullet.
With Finnerty's help, Cale realizes that Raphelson was the one who gave Walker the launch codes, having acted at the behest of the corrupt military–industrial complex. Believing Sawyer dead and that Cale will never be believed, Raphelson is tricked into confessing and arrested for treason. Sawyer names Cale his new special agent and takes him and Emily on an aerial tour of DC on Marine One, aboard which he receives word that France, Russia, China, Israel and Iran have agreed to his peace deal after learning of the events at the White House, calling for an end to all wars.
- Channing Tatum as John Cale, an Afghanistan veteran and Capitol Police officer who gets his daughter tickets to a special White House tour but they get trapped in the middle of an attack.
- Jamie Foxx as James Sawyer, President of the United States, who is the main target of an attack on the White House.
- Maggie Gyllenhaal as Carol Finnerty, Secret Service Presidential Detail Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge.
- Jason Clarke as Emil Stenz, an ex-Delta Force and CIA operative who leads a group of mercenaries in infiltrating and taking over the White House.
- Richard Jenkins as Eli Raphelson, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, who briefly assumes the Presidency after Sawyer is predicted dead and after his Vice President dies during an attack on Air Force One.
- Joey King as Emily Cale, the daughter of John Cale.
- James Woods as Martin Walker, Secret Service Presidential Detail Special Agent-in-Charge, and the leader of the attack on the White House.
- Nicolas Wright as Donnie Donaldson, White House Tour Guide.
- Jimmi Simpson as Skip Tyler, an ex-NSA cyber-security analyst turned hacker and the technical specialist in Stenz's group.
- Michael Murphy as Alvin Hammond, Vice President of the United States who briefly assumes the Presidency after Swayer is claimed dead. He is later killed after Air Force One is attacked.
- Rachelle Lefevre as Melanie Cale, John's former wife and Emily's mother.
- Lance Reddick as General Caulfield, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- Matt Craven as Kellerman, Capitol Police officer.
- Jake Weber as Ted Hope, Secret Service agent.
- Peter Jacobson as Wallace, Vice President Chief of Staff.
- Barbara Williams as Muriel Walker, Martin Walker's wife.
- Kevin Rankin as Carl Killick, a sociopathic white nationalist and one of Stenz's henchmen.
- Garcelle Beauvais as Alison Sawyer, First Lady of the United States.
- Falk Hentschel as Motts, Stenz's petty sidekick.
- Jackie Geary as Jenna Bydwell, Hammond's aid and Cale's trusted confident.
- Andrew Simms as Roger Skinner, a sleazy reporter and right-wing political commentator who criticizes Sawyer on his show.
- Vincent Leclerc as Ryan Todd, Secret Service agent.
- Anthony Lemke as Capt. Paul Hutton,
- Patrick Sabongui as Bobby, Stenz's best friend for ten years.
- Kyle Gatehouse as Conrad Cern, Killick's associate, who bombs the Capitol rotunda as a diversion for the mercenaries.
White House Down is directed by Roland Emmerich and based on a screenplay by James Vanderbilt, who is also one of the film's producers. Sony Pictures purchased Vanderbilt's spec script in March 2012 for $3 million, in what The Hollywood Reporter called "one of the biggest spec sales in quite a while". The journal said the script was similar "tonally and thematically" to the films Die Hard and Air Force One. In the following April, Sony hired Roland Emmerich as director. Emmerich began filming in July 2012 at the La Cité Du Cinéma in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Cinematographer Anna Foerster shot the film with Arri Alexa Plus digital cameras.
White House Down was originally scheduled for a November 1, 2013 release, but was moved up to a June 28, 2013 release.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 5, 2013.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 51% based on 199 reviews, with a weighted average of 5.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "White House Down benefits from the leads' chemistry, but director Roland Emmerich smothers the film with narrative clichés and choppily edited action." At Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
Roth Cornet of IGN gives it a 6.5/10, concluding: "White House Down is a pretty silly rehashing of previously tread action movie territory, but if you're willing to laugh along with (or even at) it, it can be a highly entertaining experience."
Andrew Chan of the Film Critics Circle of Australia writes, "I am not entirely sure, whether I should be happy or sad that I laughed when someone got shot or bombed, but such is the manner of how the film is played out."
White House Down grossed $73.1 million in the United States, and $132.3 million internationally, for a total gross of $205.4 million, against a budget of $150 million.
The film made $24.8 million in North American during its opening weekend, coming in below expectations and finishing fourth at the box office.
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