Monday, October 12, 2009

WHITEOUT - Flurries of Flaws

WHITEOUT (crime thriller)
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Columbus Short, Alex O'Loughlin, Shawn Doyle, Tom Skerritt and Nicolas Wright
Director: Dominic Sena
Time: 103 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: The best moments of Whiteout are in the first 10 minutes of the movie. After that it takes a freefall into banality and you may tell yourself you should have walked out of Whiteout - while the going was good!

The best moments? Let's face it, the only reason for many of us to catch this flick is its star, Kate Beckinsale (above), voted the Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire magazine. However, in a narrative (adapted from a graphic novel by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber) set in the Antarctica, most of Beckinsale's physical assets would be under layers of clothing.

Well, director Dominic Sena seems to understand this problem and he introduces Beckinsale's US marshall Carrie Stetko by showing lingering shots of her disrobing and taking a shower. I suppose he figures that by showing the audience her well-toned and shapely bod, he can then get on with the movie. He is right on that score but what follows is pure hokum!

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? A scientist is found murdered in the wilderness of the Antarctica and marshall Carrie Stetko has to rush against time to solve it before the six-month-long winter (or whiteout) sets in. As she probes into the case, she is attacked by axe killer, she gets deadly frostbite - and runs into a suspiciously helpful FBI guy (Gabriel Macht) with whom she unravels the mystery surrounding a Soviet plane which crashed 50 years earlier.

HITS & MISSES: Apparently the blizzards and extreme cold of the South Pole are the intended co-stars of the show. Well, it surely is a cinematographer's paradise and the 'natural hazards' also help to heighten the tension in the action. What ail the movie are the near-idiotic dialogue, the predictable and trite storyline (which has been changed from the source material) and wafer-thin characters.

We are told that Carrie has intended to quit her job (of solving petty squabbles at the research stations) but the murder gives her a new reason to stay on. However, her presumed motivation - to erase the memory of a botched job - feels rather phony.

THE LOWDOWN: Whiteout gets wiped out by flurries of flaws.


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