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Published on September 13th, 2009 | by simeon

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Whiteout

For US Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale), a remote posting in Antarctica was exactly what she needed to regroup after a harrowing assignment took an unexpected and devastating turn.
Unfortunately for Kate, she and the assorted scientists and support personal at the remote research base are about to become pawns in a deadly scenario in the new film “Whiteout”.

In the coldest place on earth, Carrie and many of her fellow expatriates look to evacuate the base for warmer climates before a big winter storm arrives which will signal the start of the severe winter and restrict any travel to and from the base.

Having grown tired of two years of little more than dealing with misdemeanors, Carrie has turned in her resignation and looks forward to what the future holds as does her friend Dr. Fury (Tom Skerritt), who has decided to head back home on the last flight out in 72 hours.

As the camp plans the seasonal evacuation, Carrie is dispatched with Dr. Fury and their pilot Delfy (Columbus Short), to investigate what appears to be a body in the middle of a desolate area. Their fears are soon realized when a badly disfigured body is found which is at first classified as an accident, but to many things about the condition and location of the body do not add up.

Although highly skeptical as there has never been a murder in Antarctica, and knowing the reporting it as such would cancel her trip home so the Feds can do an investigation, Carrie sets out to get to the bottom of the mystery.

As she begins to follow the trail of clues, a mysterious figure kills a suspected witness and makes an attempt on Carrie’s life. The arrival shortly thereafter by an ex military specialist working for the U.N. named Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht), raises suspicions as he was dispatched very quickly to the locale after the murder was reported and with a severe storm hours away, the arrival of Price is seem as a bad omen.
As the film goes on, Carrie realizes that she has become involved in an old mystery where people are only too willing to commit murder to posses the secrets and that there severe weather coming in is the least dangerous thing in her life.

Not knowing where to turn and who she can trust, Carrie must overcome all manner of challenges to solve the mystery and bring those responsible to justice.

At first the film is rife with potential as the great setting and premise for the film is very interesting. My mind wandered to John Carpenter’s classic version of “The Thing”, which also used the remote locale of Antarctica to set its tale. The unique and deadly beauty of the place undermines the isolation of the characters as they are truly alone with danger amongst them.

Sadly the film has several plot holes and surprisingly lacks any real or sustained tension. There were key sequences in the film which were life and death struggles amongst a ranging storm, yet unfolded in a very ho hum manner.

I learned that the film sat for nearly two years waiting to be released which is never a good sign. That being said, despite the issues, “Whiteout” does have some entertainment value which is in large part thanks to the cast who make the best they can with the material and make the film a watchable if flawed effort.

3 stars out of 5.


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