Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Movie Review: Whiteout

Yeah, I went into this one hoping for a monster.  Hoping for some loose re-envisioning of John Carpenter’s ’84 sci-fi thriller The Thing.  That’s certainly what the trailers of Whiteout led me to believe was at hand.  Simply put, I was let down.  Purely a crime thriller, this movie features neither bio-abominations nor otherworldly ghouls.  And that in and of itself is fine.  I never greatly cared for the crime thriller genre, but I can at least respect it.  What I can’t respect is a marketing campaign built around false advertising.

            Now on to the actual review.  The plot revolves around the first murder in the history of Antarctica, circa 1950.  A federal marshal (Kate Beckinsale) stationed at a nearby base comes to investigate the crime as the season draws to a close and the climate quickly shifts to intolerable.  Unfortunately, the experience of watching Whiteout was no different.

While not atrocious, the cast presented one of the more insipid efforts I’ve seen at the theater in a while.  Every line falls flat to the effect that even Tom Skerrit – one of the movie’s few redeeming qualities – cannot bring much to the table.  On paper, the plot sounds good, but the idea is butchered by poor direction and a god-awful screenplay (I plan to look up the director of this film and steer clear of all his future works.).  Apart from Skerrit, the only other positive feature of this story is its setting – the frozen and desolate plains of Antarctica.  Location does play a critical role to the plot.  But through low quality, CGI-rendered storm fronts even this is tainted.

Cold and flat, watching this movie was the visual equivalent to drinking the last half of an old, refrigerated coke.  Perhaps I was treated to seeing a big-screen monstrosity, after all.

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