Trying to escape from a violent past, US Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) has taken the most extreme post available to her; she is the only law enforcement officer working in the freezing wilds of Antarctica. Despite the conditions it’s a pretty easy job – that is until she discovers a body on the ice in the middle of nowhere. She’s only got three days before the base shuts down for the winter and, determined to solve the area’s first ever murder, Carrie teams up with UN Operative Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht) who has also been sent in to look into the case. As the pair begin to unravel the mystery behind the murder, it’s made even more difficult by the fact that a blizzard is on its way and, once the whiteout hits, the killer will have the perfect disguise…
Adapted from the graphic novel by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber, Whiteout looks stunning but underneath that icy sheen it’s an utter damp squib of a film. It’s clear from the first two minutes – which sees Beckinsale unnecessarily strip down and take a shower – where director Dominic Sena (Swordfish) is setting the tone. And indeed, even thought for the rest of the film Ms Beckinsale is wrapped up in acres of outerwear, from then on it a series of clunky dialogue, overwrought action and superficial characters that seem at odds with their extreme location and situation. Spouting clunky lines and endless – endless – amounts of exposition (it may be snowy, but we can see what’s going on), Stetko and Pryce bumble their way through crashed Russian planes and fights with ice-wielding maniacs with a surprising lack of enthusiasm.
The direction too is, despite the opportunities afforded by the locale and the set up, formulaic and obvious. With red flags highlighting every narrative twist and the mystery at the film’s core being handled like a housebrick, Whiteout is a mediocre thriller saved only from total failure by those all-too rare glimpses of the stunning scenery. 1 star
Along with a handful of deleted scenes there are featurettes on the making of the film and the adaptation process.
Stars Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Tom Skerrit
Director Dominic Sera
Distributor Optimum Home Entertainment
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released January 25