Skip to content

Whiteout (2009)

by on 2013/03/06

Whiteout (2009)I should have been disappointed by Whiteout.

Not necessarily because Gru was, but because of its setting and stars. Most of the movies I’ve seen set in Antarctica – Alien vs Predator, 1982’s The Thing, and The X-Files – have a science fiction or horror vibe. Couple that tendency with its most prominent stars: Kate Beckinsale, known for the Underworld series, and Tom Skerritt from the first Alien and Contact.

Plus, it’s based on a graphic novel. Aren’t comics all unusual or . . . super?

Yet somehow I wasn’t disappointed by this conventional murder mystery.

Shortly before her two-year tour as Antarctic security is done, Carrie Stetko (Beckinsale) is presented with a corpse. The doctor on site, John Fury (Skerritt), examines the body and discovers strange wounds. Racing a scheduling window to avoid being trapped all winter, she untangles a fifty year-old mystery, while also outrunning a murderer.

Numerous red herrings might have compounded any disappointment. Everyone is suspicious, though that’s par for the course with mysteries. The classic monster movie Them is referenced, meteorites are mentioned, as are radioactive materials, and reports of weapon deals . . . all come to naught. I’m spoiling nothing discounting them, as they don’t influence the suspects. Just be prepared for a standard mystery, whatever the trappings may be.

There are a few genuinely interesting touches in those trappings, mind you: the value of hard-to-get food sachets, the speed of a dropped coffee turning to ice, and the latticework of guide lines connecting buildings.

Unfortunately, there are other aspects which decidedly don’t work. A gratuitous shower scene would be exploitative if it weren’t so tame. (It wouldn’t have been the cause of the 14A/R certification.) Our heroine seems largely unfazed by fatigue or various wounds. Even the aforementioned guide lines become absurdly respected during chase scenes; prey and predators alike are always careful to tether down between their bloodthirsty swings with axes and ice picks.

Gru makes a good point about the sepia flashbacks, they’re awkward and repetitious. She also criticized the visual effects. Somehow I was able to forgive it all, despite my also noting that (the shooting locations) Quebec and Manitoba seemed mostly comprised of digital effects. My theory is that my co-reviewer couldn’t countenance her idol (Beckinsale) being hurt, and thus could not allow acceptance in her heart. (Okay, yes, I’m snickering now.)

Whodunit was predictable early on and, admittedly, I’ve listed some issues, but I managed to take it for what it was: a modest murder mystery. Perhaps I would feel differently if I’d paid for theatre tickets. However, this was a borrowed video, and I enjoyed myself fairly well. Whiteout felt like a serviceable TV movie. No better, no worse, but good enough.

And this time, for me, good enough was good enough.

* * *

Rated 14A (Canada) / R (United States)

101 minutes

One Comment

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Five Great Canadian Comic Book Movies | Geek vs Goth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: