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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Whiteout (2009)

Review: written May 2010

Visually interesting but otherwise disappointing Antarctic based thriller

Whiteout (2009)

There are some interesting visual flourishes in this movie, betraying its origins as a graphic novel. The concept itself is intriguing, using an unlikely location (Antarctica) as a setting for a whodunnit style thriller, with a cast that can normally be relied on to do a decent job. Alas, the concept starts to weaken on two fronts.. firstly, the treatment of it's star, Kate Beckinsale. A lengthy introducing tracking shot culimates in an equally lengthy shower scene, which plotwise serves to tell us... well, truthfully it serves no plot purpose at all, other than to have Kate Beckinsale in a shower scene right at the start - perhaps to hook the people that might turn off when they discover she is going to be all dressed up in bulky Antarctic gear for the rest of the movie? And then secondly, if we are to revel in her acting ability - why then serve her with a script so clunky you have to assume it got frostbite on the way to the location and had its common sense amputated?

Whiteout (2009)

The plot is intriguing.. a Russian plane downed in the Cold War carrying a valuable cargo, serves as a prologue to a murder in current day South Pole. As the Marshall, Kate has to figure it out, but all the suspects are about to leave on the last plane out before Winter sets in. The setting is particularly cool - (pun intended), with the frigid weather convincingly portrayed for the most part, and some of the frozen beauty of the scenery is striking (actually Canada, not Antarctica, of course). The whodunit will have you guessing - for at least a few minutes. For the rest of the movie you'll have to rely on cardboard dialogue and mediocre action scenes. On the plus side, Tom Skerritt does a good enough job to survive with his dignity intact, and the scenery is good.

I'll applaud the movie for it's original setting, but have to give it a thumbs down in the directing and script department. I'd stick with the graphic novel. Interesting idea then, but the end result will likely leave you, well ok, let's say it - somewhat cold.

Whiteout (2009)




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