WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The barren, frozen landscape of Antarctica provides the setting for Whiteout, a mystery/thriller from Dominic Sena, director of Swordfish and Gone in 60 Seconds. U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko is nearing the end of her two-year tenure as the only law-enforcement authority in the entire territory when the mangled body of a murdered scientist is discovered on the ice.
As winter dawns, bringing with it six months of total darkness, Carrie mounts her hunt for the killer, hoping to solve the case before the last plane exits the continent. But the mystery only broadens with each ensuing clue and the discovery of more frozen corpses leaving her with a troubling question: Who among the territory's close-knit research community is capable of such viciousness, and why would they do it? The answer may lie in the cargo hold of a Soviet airplane that crashlanded on Antarctica over 50 years ago.
WHO'S IN IT?
Kate Beckinsale trades her leather Underworld duds for a considerably less sexy parka-and-goggles ensemble to play Carrie, the reluctant Marshal saddled with Antarctica's first-ever homicide case. Evening up the cast's eye-candy ledger is the poor man's Matthew McConaughey, Gabriel Macht (The Spirit), in the role of a U.N. investigator sent in to expedite the investigation. Veteran character actor Tom Skerritt (Contact, A River Runs Through It) plays the humble country doctor who helps Carrie with all of the gruesome examination of the corpses, while Columbus Short (Stomp the Yard, Save the Last Dance) plays her hardy airplane pilot.
For those of you who worried that sub-zero temperatures might limit opportunities to dress Beckinsale up in skin-tight outfits, director Sena addresses your anxieties at the outset, proffering an extended disrobing/showering scene within minutes of the opening credits. Bravo!
Near the beginning of the story, one of the characters utters Whiteout's signature line regarding Antarctica: "Nature never intended you to survive here." Nor did she intend for you to set movies there. A predictable plot, laughable dialogue, occasionally inscrutable action scenes and a series of tedious flashbacks are just a few of the problems that plague the film.
Oftentimes it can be challenging to pinpoint exactly when a movie starts to fall apart, but in the case of Whiteout, it's refreshingly simple. After leaving a hand injury untreated for too long, allowing it to develop a nasty case of frostbite, Carrie is forced to have two of her fingers amputated. She and the doctor share a tender moment as he begins the procedure; then suddenly we hear a loud *snip* offscreen, followed by the sound of her lifeless appendage bouncing around a metal bowl, to which Skerritt adds, reassuringly, "We're halfway there." It's the first of many laugh-out-loud moments that turn what could have been an entertaining if ludicrous action-thriller into a comically dimwitted cinematic train wreck.
CHOOSE THE QUOTE!
Which of the wacky quips below do you like best?
''Whiteout will leave you cold.''
''Quality takes a snow day in Whiteout.''
''Even sizzling Beckinsale can't heat up tepid Whiteout.''
''Whiteout's forecast calls for repeated flurries of terrible filmmaking.''
''An avalanche of flaws buries Whiteout.''
Register your vote or add your own wacky quote in the comments section!
Hollywood.com rated this film 1/2 star.