Movie #22: Whiteout

I thought the concept for Whiteout seemed pretty cool (no pun intended): have a murder-mystery thriller set on a base station in Antarctica. Kate Beckinsale plays U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko, stationed at the South Pole, who’s just about to retire and go back to the U.S. when the body of a murdered man is discovered in the ice. What follows is less of a mystery than a thriller as more bodies pile up and a killer is loose amongst the penguins but it’s still kind of exciting to see Stetko fight off murderous assailants in the blowing super-blizzard known as a “whiteout”. I don’t know exactly why the director (Dominic Sena) felt the need to hold the audience’s hand by actually replaying scenes on screen as characters described them, nor why he kept flashing back to an incident from Stetko’s past as a marshall. I guess it was maybe to fill time, or to try to give Stetko a complex persona. It speaks to her inability to trust people, but the character stuff is done so ham-fistedly that it’s not really much of a revelation. Unfortunately the Antarctica stuff got old quickly too (maybe because the focus was too heavy on Stetko herself, the backdrop ended up playing too small a role to be relevant). Beckinsale was nothing special in the lead, and neither Gabriel Macht (from The Spirit) nor Tom Skerritt added much in the way of dramatic weight. In the end, you had your run-of-the mill thriller set in a cold place. Sadly, like the characters, I couldn’t wait to fly out of there either. (3 out of 5)

22 down, 28 to go!

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