Movie Review: Whiteout
Cliches and Predictable Plot Twists Render This Movie a Complete Washout
There is nothing I find more frustrating than a promising premise ruined by poorly executed storytelling. You know there is a kernel of a decent movie buried in there, but all too often filmmakers don’t trust the intellect of the audience and fall back on annoying exposition and unnecessary flashbacks (no doubt considered helpful by them) to shovel the plot points down our throats. It’s excessive, irritating, and insulting, and it is exactly what is wrong with Whiteout. This movie had an intriguing premise (a murder mystery set in barren, isolated Antarctica) that unravels quickly after a promising plane crash opening sequence. Another thriller that is anything but. *sigh*
Whiteout is formulaic and a great example of a movie that was plotted precisely to deliver what the filmmakers thought the audience wanted to see, to hell with logic and congruity. Case in point, immediately after the plane crash, we are treated to our first peek at the heroine Carrie (Kate Beckinsale), a U.S. Marshall stationed in Antarctica. She walks down a hall in the requisite layers of clothing the sub-zero terrain demands, goes to her room and strips down layer after layer of clothing until she stands in her underwear and bra. She turns around, lifts her ass in the air at the camera for a closeup of said ass, and turns on the shower. The scene is jarring and serves no purpose other than to showcase Ms. Beckinsale’s ass. Just because she has a great ass, doesn’t mean we need to have it shoved in our faces. This was eye candy the director threw in. No more, no less. It actually illicited snickers from several audience members in my screening, that’s how ridiculous it is. There are lots of other things thrown in like this.
As far as movie conventions go, we all know anytime a detective/cop/reporter announces that they are retiring, something dreadful will happen to prevent them from doing so. This film is no exception to that rule. Carrie and Doc (Tom Skeritt, looking damn hot for a 76 year old pepaw) reveal to one another that neither one intends on returning to the Antartica research station after the mandatory evacuations in three days. The entire base is evacuated prior to the winter, which lasts six months long and plunges the region into pitch black for the entire time. Naturally popsicle corpses start popping up mere days before the last plane carts out, threatening the departures of Carrie and Doc.
A convoluted murder mystery is at the questionable heart of this movie. A convenient work mishap from Carrie’s past (seen in flashbacks) renders her unable to trust her instincts. Consequently, everyone appears as though they could be the killer. She is joined in her investigation by a shady UN investigator who drops red herrings like breadcrumbs on a trail.
The obligatory third act action/confrontation/chase scene of the movie is obscured by so much blowing snow and wind that you never can discern who any of the characters are. Everyone is also wearing parkas, hats, and goggles, which further muddles their identities. I literally couldn’t tell if there were two or three characters in the pivotal scene. It is one thing to use the natural elements to add to the suspense and danger, and another to allow those elements to overtake the movie.
Absurdities abide, as Carrie is as pert as can be moments after after having two fingers amputated (wide awake I might add). She has no trouble holding on to a rope with her mangled hand in 100 mph winds. Also, everyone’s lips have a magical ability to ward off frostbite. All other body parts are covered in every scene, but no one ever covers their lips. I can only come to the conclusion that the director thought that if he covered up everyone’s lips, we wouldn’t be able to tell who anyone is. Oh wait, too late.
Directed by Dominic Sena, the movie also stars Gabriel Macht, Shawn Doyle, Columbus Short and Alex O’ Loughlin. Whiteout is based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka.
Frothygirlz rating 4/10