Despite the numerous bad reviews director Dominic Sena’s “WHITEOUT” had received I decided to give the movie a rent and see just how bad a movie can really get. I liked Sena’s work in the film “KALIFORNIA” and even tolerated the brainless action flick called “Swordfish”. Sure, the director took time off and if this film is any indication, he definitely needs to get back on the saddle since it is obviously a sign that he is all ’rusted out’ in terms of creativity. So how bad can “Whiteout” really get? It is after all based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka and it features one of the hottest-looking actresses in the person of Kate Beckinsale. Well, “Whiteout” is something that you need to “whiteout” from your brain.
Antartica is one of the harshest places known to man and U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is looking forward to her last days patrolling the frozen landscape. Unfortunately, a last minute murder investigation hampers her dreams of returning to a warmer climate when a body is found from out of nowhere. Her friends (Tom Skerritt and Columbus Short) are supportive enough of the situation, as Carrie is joined by a U.N. operative named Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht) as they discover a mysterious secret about a crashed Russian cargo plane. Now they are being stalked by a masked killer bent on preventing them from uncovering the truth. Carrie must solve the mystery before winter time and the environment becomes even more harsher and more dangerous…
I really have no idea as to how a movie as simple as “Whiteout” can mess up its screenplay. Supposedly there is already a blueprint as the movie is based on a novel and while I haven’t read it, I thought Rucka is a decent comic book writer so it would be safe to assume that the graphic novel would be better. The dialogue in the film is just lousy and the manner with which the film’s expositions of its mystery is so lacking in any rhyme or reason even as it tries to flesh out every detail that just proves so redundant in trying to reinforce its reasons. The screenplay is very clumsy and the direction is badly executed. It opts to exaggerate certain scenes by keeping the camerawork tight and close; yet it never achieves the proper timing to generate suspense. The film is also full of bad CGI, as the “cold breath” is badly timed.
The mystery itself is quite simple. I don’t mind a simple premise as long as it keeps the scenes either real or thrilling. Yet, what we become privy to are expositions that appear so unimaginative that I could see the mystery and the twist from far away. There were no credible clues but it was just so easy to figure out. Also, the identity of the killer appears to have just surfaced from out of nowhere with no connection at all to the film’s final reveal. Yep, there is no groundwork laid out in the film’s plot; it all appears to be an amateurish exercise in filmmaking. If this was made by someone who is still in film school then I can excuse its flaws but this was supposed to have a more solid source material after all.
The film also has zero thrills and suspense because of its bad script. Actually the only thrill I got was in seeing Kate Beckinsale walking around, dressed only in a white tank top and white panties, and then showering in a clouded bathroom. After that, it all goes downhill as the film offers little characterization to its supporting characters and extremely boring bad guys. Carrie Stetko does have some ‘meat’ when it came to characterization, as she is revealed as someone who had been betrayed by a former partner. This would have served as somewhat of a parallel to her current situation, and while it was, the climax never achieved any impact on its narrative. Some of the blizzard effects were good, and the cinematography showed some promise as we see the white beauty that is Antartica but it just didn’t matter as soon as the plot started going.
The last time I saw this bad a movie was when I saw “Gamer” and I never thought that I would see another really bad movie again so soon. The film would have done better in keeping the harsh environment as part of the script’s main source of peril rather than resorting to ’slasher flick’ formulas as its main draw. “Whiteout” would have been an easy practice at a decent conventional thriller with its setting, but the direction just didn’t have its head on right. The redundant deceptions and the dialogue proved to be the film’s biggest weaknesses; much as I like Kate Beckinsale, “Whiteout” only proves to be the fine definition of the word ‘forgettable’ and aside from her scene in the shower, there is no reason to see this movie.
SKIP IT [1 ½ Stars]
HYPE LEVEL: Forgettable. The Film was 'hyped' as being so bad...
Kate Beckinsale, Tom Skerritt - cool setting but it adds up to near nothing. Even the basic script was decent but the execution took care of that. A lot of poorly and overdone CGI didn't help much either nor did the actual cause of everything add up. Or the storyline - which in parts was silly. In total a really bad movie in a nice package. Kate and Tom could do nothing to salvage what was or wasn't there.
I knew when the opening scene had Kate Beckinsdale getting into a shower that it was the only thing they could do to get the audience's attention. It's pretty much downhill from there, descending into a TV episode set in snow. Lacking the supernatural element of the almost-as-bad "The Last Winter" and trying to salvage the best bits from The Thing and that episode of the X Files set in Alaska, it's a mish-mash of ludicrous plot points and terrible dialog. The best part is when Kate gets … more
Did you know in Antartica there's a storm that comes by in which you can't see even six inches in front of you and it's called a "Whiteout" because you can't see anything but white? Did you know the title of the movie really doesn't have anything to do with said storm at all? It's true. It just happens to take place in Antarctica during this storm, but it's hardly a huge plot device or anything like that. The trailer for the film makes it look like something … more
A lone U.S. marshal stationed in Antarctica is drawn into a shocking murder investigation. With only three days until winter, she must solve the crime before the continent is plunged into darkness and she is trapped with the killer.Genres:Action/Adventure, Thriller and Adaptation Release Date:September 11th, 2009 (wide) MPAA Rating:R for violence, grisly images, brief strong language and some nudity. Distributors:Sony Pictures Releasing, Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution See Full Details