Sunday, May 02, 2021

Whiteout (2009) needed some white-out on the script

I originally was going to write a very short review on IMDb for the movie Whiteout with Kate Beckinsale.  It was going to something like "This is a movie that violates the laws of physics worse than most Sci-Fi's."  However, as I typed, it turned in a reasonably long rant, so here it is.

Whiteout is a 2009 crime thriller film based on the 1998 comic book of the same name by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber. Directed by Dominic Sena.  The movie stars Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Columbus Short, Tom Skerritt, and Alex O'Loughlin. The movie was released on September 11, 2009.

The movie is set in Antarctica, where Special Deputy U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is planning to leave in a few days. After finding a dead body, Stetko is attacked by a masked killer who is trying to get hold of the cargo in an old Soviet plane that crash-landed in the ice during the Cold War.

Somehow, this thriller demonstrates massive violations of the laws of physics worse than your average Sci-Fi movie. There is magic wind that only works when the plot needs it, and frictionless ground (sometimes, when the plot needs it). The escape from the buried Soviet plane is pure plot magic.  That's not even getting into uncovered faces when characters spend a long length of time outside in -55°C (and worse) weather.

Worse still, the villains are completely illogical (magical), as though they are straight out of a horror flick. One of the villains (Russell Haden played by Alex O'Loughlin) keeps appearing out of nowhere and disappears into nothing, even though there's nowhere from which the villain could come nor is there anywhere for the villain to vanish in the small base camps. The main villain (and the associated reveal) makes absolutely no sense, even within the context of the story. It feels like the writers wrote themselves into a corner and decided, "Well, dang, I'll just make the base's doctor the secret villain."

Beyond that, the good guy (Robert Pryce played by Gabriel Macht) acts as the red-herring throughout the movie. He is found in such illogical situations near crime scenes, the only way he isn't the villain is because the writers decided he wasn't. For example, he was literally found hiding within feet of murders or life-threatening assaults multiple times, but he ignores the victims and just hides while rummaging around the scene until Kate's character discovers him. In reality, he would've been arrested (he being UN or not) after the first time he was found *at* the murder scene.

There's a bunch of other illogical stuff to, like taking a tractor out to a possible crime scene, when the plane that the heroes were already using would've literally been faster and safer. The movie already demonstrated earlier that you could take a plane to pretty much any location in Antarctica because it's so flat everywhere.

Then, movie twist... There's no logic for a Soviet plane to be carrying hand-carried nuclear materials in Antarctica; but the double-twist reveal is that the plane was actually carrying uncut diamonds; which makes even less sense!

Basically, in my opinion, this movie is a mess. The fairly unique setting of Antarctica is an excuse to create danger, but it does so in ridiculous ways. If you want to watch a horror flick set in a cold and isolated place, check out 30 Days of Night or The Thing. If you want to watch a murder mystery in a cold an isolated place, check out Fargo. If you want to see Kate Beckinsale naked, check out Uncovered. If you want to see people surviving the challenging Antarctica environment while investigating meteorites, check out Eight Below.  If you want to watch a beautiful hero with special ice powers, see Frozen.  Pretty much any thing Whiteout tries to do is done significantly better by another movie.



One the plus side, Kate's attempt at a generic American accent (playing a U.S. Marshal) was pretty good.

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