Whiteout refers to a weather condition in which snow and clouds produce a uniform whiteness, making visibility and objects difficult to see. A lack of vision is also aptly suited in describing this far-fetched murder mystery starring Kate Beckinsale. My review after the jump:
Carrie Stetko is a US Marshal stationed in Antarctica on a US scientific research facility. While on patrol one day, she discovers a frozen body in the ice and decides to investigate further. Carrie finds that the body was part of a small team of geologists working offsite and grows more suspicious when her calls to the station go unanswered. With an impending storm threatening to leave her and fellow cohorts stranded for six months without sun, Carrie takes matters into her own hands. It’s not long before she finds herself at the offsite station and the rest of the geologist team murdered. With a killer on the loose, Carrie barely escapes with her own life before being helped by UN investigator Robert Pryce. Who is Pryce and why is he there? Can he be trusted? These are some of the questions facing Carrie and her cohorts as it’s a race against time and a killer engaged in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.
While successful in acclimating us to its beautiful, yet often hostile snowscapes, Whiteout ultimately comes up short. Way short. Beckinsale and Tom Skerritt (playing Dr. John Fury) simply aren’t given enough to work with and are besieged from the outset by a silly plot, poorly developed characters and an underwhelming finale. It certainly didn’t help that I was able to guess the villain of this film within the first five minutes. Director Dominic Sena repeatedly aims for style over substance, his worst offense being the inclusion of flashbacks that only serve to bloat an already incomprehensible story. Not to mention the many gratuitous shots of Beckinsale’s body and perfectly made-up face, gaps in logic and overall “frat-boy-like atmosphere” of the research facility itself. As is often the trend these days, CGI is used way too much here – the opening sequence comes to mind – further cheapening the already clumsy look and feel of this film.
While I wasn’t expecting much from Whiteout, it was truly astonishing to see just how awful this film really was. With its exotic location and a better script, I can’t help but feel it might have had a shot at being something more interesting in capable hands.
This bare-bones DVD contains five extra minutes of deleted scenes that prove inconsequential to the overall viewing experience. Whiteout is presented in widescreen format and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.