Whiteout Review

Published 5 years ago by

Short version: While far from perfect, Whiteout does manage to keep you guessing until the end and ultimately doesn’t leave you feeling ripped off.

whiteout 1 Whiteout Review
Screen Rant’s Paul Young reviews Whiteout

A while back, Kate Beckinsale was asked about her involvement with the next Underworld movie and she explained that she was done wearing tight leather outfits. I thought she might be serious, but man, she didn’t have to go overboard on the next film by walking around 95% of the time wearing a parka! But I’ve got to give credit to whoever wrote the opening scene for Whiteout, Oscar-worthy material my friend – in a scene that was obviously written to appeal to the young male audience, Beckinsale walks through the snow into her room and promptly removes most (read: not enough) of her clothing in order to take a shower.

The scene does nothing to move along, set up, or explain the story of Whiteout and is sure to become “Most Unnecessary (and Gratuitous) Scene of the Year.” That being said, based on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka, Whiteout is a decent enough attempt at a Fall movie season thriller.

Set at a U.S. Geological camp at the South Pole in Antarctica only three days before winter starts, Beckinsale plays U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko, and she has some issues with trust. When a body, or “popsicle,” is discovered in the ice by pilot Delfy (Columbus Short), Stetko and camp doctor Dr. John Fury (Tom Skerritt) head out to investigate.

Their investigation leads them to realize that a murder has occurred and that the killer is still at large; and, seeing as how they are at the most remote place on the planet, there’s a better than good chance the killer is still in the camp. Along the way, she meets U.N. detective Robert Pryce, played by The Spirit’s Gabriel Macht, and together they hunt the killer and try to recover some lost Russian items.

The writers do a good job of throwing in plenty of misdirection and some red herrings to keep audiences guessing (although I pegged the twist about ¾ of the way through). What director Dominic Sena (Swordfish, Gone in Sixty Seconds) could have left out were all the hazy, orange saturated flashbacks. I sort of understand what he was trying to do with them but he only needed to do it once and not the three or four times he choose to go with. Also, he could have left out the “ah-ha” moment as a flashback. Once the twist is revealed, it’s not that hard to connect the dots and by flashing back Sena insults the audience.

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What Whiteout tries to do (emphasis on tries), is make the audience feel the solidarity and aloneness of being at the bottom of the earth, but that’s very hard to do because it seems like dozens of people are living and working down there and it’s a party every day. Heck, I want to go just drink off the “million year old ice.” Here’s a tip for all directors that want me to feel like I’m alone: Stop putting so many people in your film! Stetko is literally alone for maybe 5 minutes the entire film, even the shower scene is interrupted after 30 seconds.

The action scenes in the snow and blizzards are a neat idea but they aren’t really done right because of all the CGI. Everything ends up looking blurry, out of focus and ultimately is just too hard to discern. The idea of fighting in a blizzard does lend itself to some interesting concepts but it just didn’t work here, which leads me to my next point.

There is WAY too much CGI in a movie like this. I have feared for some time now that directors were beginning to lean on the CGI crutch far too often and this just goes to prove my point. The opening scene of a Russian plane flying and then crashing in the Antarctic would have been super cool to watch but the whole thing is done in CG. I don’t see how it’s cheaper to hire a team of CG artists to design everything but the sky instead of just renting a plane for a day and then adding some digital snow but I guess that’s why I don’t sign the checks.

Another thing that bothered me was the ending – I saw it coming long before it happened and it seemed like the writers took the easy way out. The whole scene feels very much like the Necromonger walking into the sun’s rays from Chronicles of Riddick. You’ll know what I mean after you watch it. Also, the killer is very scary and I never really felt Stetko’s anxiety or any impending doom for any of the characters.

I’ve said it before in my Observe and Report review but I don’t really need to see a line of flopping man junk running across the screen for me to enjoy a film. Oh yes, there is a scene like that in Whiteout, it’s short and at the beginning but again, unnecessary to the plot and didn’t help set the mood or surroundings at all. In fact, it goes against everything the movie portrays about the extreme cold at the South Pole. We are told that it gets to -65 degree Celsius and you begin to experience hypothermia after three minutes. Don’t know about you, but I don’t need any frozen tundra down unda!

Overall though, those are minor gripes on a mostly entertaining film. If you’re looking for something new to watch this weekend that isn’t animated, Whiteout is a solid choice and will make for a decent night out. There’s no way it beats out 9 for number one this weekend, but hopefully it puts Gamer out of play and kills off Final Destination for the number two spot.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5
(Good)

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TAGS: 3 star movies, whiteout

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  1. 6 naked guys? I’m going to see it tonight. They get 3 stars automatically for that ;)

  2. National Tragedy Hits American Movie Fans on Traumatic Anniversary

    09/11/2009

    Two of Hollywood’s top-billing talent died tragically today in a freak accident. The saddest part about the story seems to be that it is so common these days with movies. Tom Skerrit, with more than 140 appearances on T.V. shows and the big screen, was riding shotgun with Kate Beckinsale in Whiteout when a massive storm of creativity blew right out the window taking both actors with it. Yes, not surprisingly their careers died on the very screen they worked. Dallas from Alien has signaled he is hanging up his space suit and retiring from trying. While Kate, brings us all back to the early days when she was model; with no less than a hundred “my face is pretty when wrapped in a fur hat” and shot from straight on- moments. Freakishly, they both deliver the worst performances ever. I won’t even begin to mention the supporting cast- frozen between layers of boredom.

    After only fifteen films under her belt, Kate became almost convincing as an actual actress with Brokedown Palace. The latest drama for Victoria Beckham’s best friend proved as shallow as Ms.Davis’ character. True, it does feel depressing to lose such a beautiful model-esq actress as Beckinsale, though fans could use their free cash flow for a more exciting investment- like ice-cream brain freeze. Even with snow, sleet, and wind Kate’s magnificent Antarctic hairdresser manages to fix her hair after every shot. Even when running from the killer bad guy! Do not mess with U.S. Marshal Stetko’s hair! The fast-paced action keeps you on your seat’s edge while Katy runs in circles- LITERALLY around the Amundsen-Scott station chasing after the mysterious killer. One tenses up in fear as you realize THE WHOLE BASE is a whopping three buildings, interconnected and appearing to be 3,000 square feet! Ahhhhhh, no stay away Hero Marshal I’ll run around the mess hall table and avoid capture before darting off into the next room and forcing you to chase me around the office desk! Evil genius coupled with hardened stamina of the criminal. You find yourself wondering if a fourth grader wrote the script.
    What awesome secret plot twist could bring Tom to play the role of second string to a former vampire hunter you ask? Get ready, Russian diamonds lost in a plane crash and probably worth millions- if you could sell half a billion dollars worth without anyone knowing! I know I know…I blew the whole movie for you now. I only want to do the world a favor, force Beckinsale to realize that she has no hope as an actress without her husband- Len Wiseman’s Underworld franchise. I used to think Len was the lucky one for having Kate agree to star in his trilogies. Now I understand the secret Ms. Beckinsale keeps so closely guarded. I for one will be at the theater opening night for Underworld Nine, but unless Mrs. Wiseman starts filming porn, Hollywood won’t receive another dime from this punter. I suddenly feel like spending another three hours stabbing myself in the head, see ya.

    “I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.” – Winston Churchill

    • Amazing how the human brain works…it just dawned on me that Kris Kristofferson and Tom Skerrit look nearly identical. I stand by my original opinion of Katey; hot in a skirt and lousy on film. Too bad, so sad. I am more interested in Len than Kate because somehow her acting ability negates my sex drive and makes her just another wannabe actor…looks ARE deceiving after all. Who knew?

  3. LOL @ Dave!

    Ok. I went to see it. I was going to go see another film but I was lured in by the promise of naked men (thanks Paul). I should have considered that with a little bit more thought.

    ****** SPOILER WARNING ******
    Antarctic + naked men running around naked outside = so the hell what?…DOH! I won’t make that mistake again. 1 shrinky dinky, 2 shrinky dinky…well im sure you get the point. I should have brought the binoculars.

    Once the plot unfolded I knew immediately who done it. Who else just happens to have material for stitches handy? I spent the rest of the movie hoping that I was wrong because I hate calling them that early.

    What I couldn’t understand was the ending. I’m sorry but it were ME stuck in a frozen tuna can for 6 months I would have not asked for my job back. I would have been plotting how to smuggle those diamonds and retire. Somewhere nice and sunny. Like a private island on the equator.

    There were some unanswered questions but I really didn’t care enough to think too hard about them. I was just glad that the movie was over and I could finally go to Walmart and pick up my site to store delivery of my new Hoover Platinum vacuum.

    Watching the movie made me cold.

    Kate beckinsale has a really nice rear end and there is a view of the camel toe. It’s right up in your face so it can’t be missed. Is it worth the full ticket price? Hubby said “meh. not really.” and shrugged. He is such a BAD liar LOL!

    I enjoyed her in the Underworld movies. Such a shame.

    So aside from the very brief male nudity, the movie DID suck as promised. I give it a 1.5 for being too predictable and having to look at Beckinsale’s entire vagina on a big screen. It was kinda scary.

  4. @Dave – Fantastic bud! That was truly inspired.

    @tweeb – I never promised you good male nudity. And did you just use the words camel toe and vagina in your review? *claps*

    So if I’m to understand you properly, you got two things that sucked tonight?

  5. @Paul- Yes. I used both of those words. I call it like it slaps me in the face at the theater. :D

    My hoover is working wonderful. Sucks as promised.

  6. Regardless of the smacks here which I can intuit as on right on the beak, I’m keeping this on my NF queue. I went to Plan C today on a 10 yr. old Aussie TV series—AND I got ” short wait-ed ” WTF!!! Holding off on WHITEOUT 2. Unless Mike Nesmith directs it. . ..

    Oddly enough @Tweeb—Beckinsalethinks her butt is not a good one! [ I know-she be wrong ;-) ]—for those who get put off by perfect make-up in nasty Wx conditions—I am w/you 110%. I just dumped out of the last few eps of BSG because I could no longer take the soap plotting & hooker heels on otherwise attractive femmes. They need to know they look even hotter all messed up.

  7. ^^@jukeofearl- maybe my foil hat is on too tight but i don’t understand what you are talking about. :D

  8. @Tweeb—sorry my comments/sentences ran together. I only referred to your saying Beckinsale had “a nice rear end.” She’s been quoted in the past as saying does not like her butt—especially on screen. The rest is not directed at your comments but addressing how actors are made up to look perfect even in awful circumstances. I have a particular prob w/ high heels in space. AND on street cops. ;-)

  9. ah. Now I get it. LOL!

    I never understood the detectives in high heels myself. Not a productive choice for chasing down criminals. High heels in space!! LOL!

  10. This film is just another example of displaying the double standard of gratuitous male frontal nudity only. Where is the equality ? When will there ever be as much female frontal nudity as male frontal nudity in a film. It has become a disgusting trend. If the roles were reversed and it was female frontal nudity that was continuously on display I believe we would hear nothing but outrage. It is time for males to express their disapproval of the way it is now. Enough is enough !!

  11. What is Name of the song in Camp party when they play it live. Pls Rpl. song is great :D