Sunday, September 13, 2009

Movie Review: Whiteout

Whiteout **
Directed by:
Dominic Sena.
Written By: Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber and Chad Hayes & Carey Hayes based on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka.
Starring: Kate Beckinsale (Carrie Stetko), Gabriel Macht (Robert Pryce), Tom Skerritt (Dr. John Fury), Columbus Short (Delfy), Alex O'Loughlin (Russell Haden), Shawn Doyle (Sam Murphy), Joel S. Keller (Jack), Jesse Todd (Rubin).

Whiteout is a thriller where I kept expecting something to happen, and nothing ever really does. It is not that the movie is bad, per se, it’s just that I never really got involved in the movie. The characters are flat and unemotional, as are the performances to go along with them, and the storyline is a bad the numbers murder mystery set in Antarctica. I wonder if the filmmakers thought that the novelty of setting the movie in the most desolate place on earth would be enough to make it interesting. If so, they were wrong.

Three days before the last planes of the season will be leaving Antarctica for the season, leaving everyone else behind for the winter, a body has been discovered out in the middle of nowhere. US Marshall Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale), hiding down there for last two years, decides she wants to solve the case before she leaves forever. Her chase leads her to a small scientific camp, where she is attacked by someone is a ski outfit, and finds another body. Then, after a strange UN investigator, Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht) shows up and they find an old Russian plane. But they are not the first ones who have been there. And something has been stolen. Stetko and Pryce try to figure it out all, while also trying to beat out the clock so they can get out before it’s too late.

The movie is a paint by numbers exercise in genre filmmaking. There is not an element of the movie that would have been out of place in a movie of this sort in the 1930s. That is how old this storyline feels. Even worse, the filmmakers decide to play the whole thing straight. The characters are boring and one dimensional. I do love Kate Beckinsale, but why she continues to pick so generic scripts I do not know. She is given nothing really to do. Worse though is Gabriel Macht, who continues his quest to become the world’s most boring actor. It is nice to see Tom Skerritt on screen again, I just wish it was something more worthwhile. The rest of the characters blend are so bland and generic, that I think they cast an African American and a Australian guy simply so the audience could tell who was who.

The director of the movie is Domenic Sena, who was once a promising director, but has become just another director for hire. His debut film was the underrated Kalifornia, with Brad Pitt as a serial killer, and Juliette Lewis as his dimwitted girl. That was a great film. Since then, though, it has been down hill. With Whiteout, he has certainly made his most bland film to date.

And there really is not much more to say other than that. The film is not really very good, but it’s not terrible either. I was not checking my watch every few minutes waiting for it to be over, but neither was I on the edge of my seat. The film just kind of sits there on the screen, and by the time you’ve reached the parking lot, you’ve forgotten all about it.

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