September 13, 2009
Review - " Whiteout " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: Dominic Sena
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Columbus Short, Tom
So here it is my 100th movie review of 2009. Not the best choice of
films for #100. I had originally hoped that the movie "9" would
reap this honor but as chance happens, due to the movie start times
and my schedule, I saw "9" first and thus wrote that review first. And
as chance would have it I enjoyed "Whiteout" more. I think this has
much to do with prior expectations. I had very high expectations for
"9" and was greatly disappointed by it. I had read several negative
reviews of "Whiteout" before going so had very low expectations. In
fact I couldn't find a single positive review - I looked - not one
professional reviewer had anything nice to say about this movie. Of
course I went to see it because it starred Kate Beckinsale. This film
is all right so far as thrillers come. Nothing tremendously new here
but it is a very interesting location for a film. But with such low
expectatyion I found myself really enjoying htis movie experience.
Kate Beckinsale stars as U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko who is first
introduced stripping off five layers of clothing and then hopping into
the shower - all without saying a word. I can hardly complain
considering Beckinsale is absolutely gorgeous.
In Whiteout we find U.S. Marshal Stetko gearing up for her leave
back to the USA before the winter season hits the research station
she has been assigned to protect and serve in Antarctica. Of
course a murder happens and throws our U.S. Marshal in to a
situation she couldn’t imagine (as there are no murders in Antarctica). As you should know, Antarctica is one of the largest
most desolate and inhospitable places on the planet. In short, mankind was not meant to survive there. This is the
underlying theme of the film, that and greed fuels violence, violence spins out of control.
What’s interesting about this film is that there are three main characters to pay attention to - one is our U.S. Marshal Stetko,
the other is the killer or killers and thirdly is mother nature herself as she is very present throughout the film and contributes
to some of the characters plight and salvation.
This is not straight horror but absolutely in the thriller genre, which can cross over from time to time. There are some pretty
gruesome images in the film and a couple of nice murder sequences, but nothing to write home about. Its an ok film to say
the least, like I said nothing to new for many of us but the setting is pretty bad ass - isolation can be very creepy when
utilized. They do a decent job of building tension and keeping the audience guessing. I can't say I was on the edge of my
seat the whole time but there were several moments when I felt the excitement and my nerves were taut.
There comes a moment in Dominic Sena's Whiteout where our heroine Marshal Carrie Stetko (played by the usually British
Kate Beckinsale) is about to face something horrific but it doesn’t come from a faceless killer’s snow axe or from the
possibility of freezing to death in the Antarctic winter. The scene takes place in a doctor’s office and the horror of the
situation comes from Stetko facing the aftermath of being exposed to sub-zero weather - a scene that left the audience
squirming in their seats.
My biggest complaint is that every time Kate B went outside into the 65 below weather her face was unprotected and never
suffered any damage or discomfort. I know this is because we needed to see her and if she was all bundled up properly
there really wouldn't be any need to have her in the film. This is Hollywood and I guess it's somewhat forgivable (we do need
to see Kate after all) but this major detour from reality still irks me.
There's some good hand-to-hand fights between our heroine and an angry fellow with an ice axe, lots of graphic autopsy
close-ups (thank you, "C.S.I."), and a nasty illustration of the dangers of frostbite. Overall I enjoyed "Whiteout". Not a great
film (maybe not even a good one) but a passable thriller and entertaining 1 hour and 40 minutes.