U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko is three days from the end of her tour at an international research station in Antarctica after which she'll resign. An incident from her past haunts her. The continent's first winter storm is coming when a body, wearing no gear, is discovered in the tundra. She investigates, soon finds more bodies, and must find a motive and a murderer before the storm and her departure. A U.N. agent, Robert Pryce, appears, seemingly out of nowhere, to help. An aging physician about to retire, a nervous mission chief, a downed Soviet plane, and the weather's deadly elements add to the story. Can Carrie trust Pryce and does she still have what it takes? Written by
Okay, this isn't a Great movie. It's not even a great whodunit. But in a world where old Charlie Chan pot-boilers have a cult following, and boneheaded Spielberg spectaculars are considered works of genius, I'd say that Whiteout definitely has a place.
What did I like about Whiteout? I loved the setting. ANY movie set in the confines of an Antarctic research station is okay with me. (There aren't nearly enough of them!) I loved the characters. Kate Beckinsale isn't in the front ranks of thespians, but she's a solid leading lady, and brings a good mix of likability, vulnerability and toughness to this part. The supporting characters are just fine as well. I loved the idea of setting an action-mystery in this odd locale, and I greatly enjoyed the way the mystery unraveled - predictable though it may have been. And I loved the various ways that the frozen environment is brought in as an element in the story.
What did I hate? Not a thing. True, the cold is not treated realistically. Too many people walking around bareheaded and such. Yes, it's a dopey Hollywood convention. But in a little action flick like this one, I wasn't bothered - at all. Did I hate the acting? No. It was just right for this kind of film. Did I have problems with the writing? Okay... there were a few bits of logic that could have been tighter. But, again, no worse than in many movies that get a 10/10 from every blockhead on Earth. (I won't itemize... this review is going to get enough down-checks as it is.)
Bottom line, Whiteout is a pile of fun. It's a 'genre' film, with few if any artistic pretensions. But it delivers the goods where it counts. I've watched it several times on DVD, and expect to enjoy it quite a few more. If you don't get it, go watch some Merchant-Ivory drawing room masterpiece, and we'll all be happy.
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