MOVIE: Whiteout (2009)

One of the first things I do when I sit down to draft a movie review is write out the cast list that I put at the bottom of each one, and then go grab links to old Boyfriend write-ups where relevant.  Which is why I’m going to start off this particular review with the following exclamation:

Tom Skerritt hasn’t been a Boyfriend of the Week yet?!   I’m fired!  I fire myself!

I’m way overdue for the new Boyfriend write-up, by the way, in part because it’s the first one of the year, and that is a write-up I try to give just a tiny bit of superior significance.    I’ve been struggling to figure out which of the SIX I have in the hopper should be the one that kicks off 2010.  I’m pretty sure I now have my answer.  Unfortunately, this means an even longer wait, while I go rewatch 800 of my all-time favorite Tom Skerritt movies.  Luckily, there are far, far worse things than having to go rent The Turning Point for the 86-bazillionth time, so I’m not too upset about this.  I hope you aren’t either.

In the meantime, let me tell you about Skerritt’s latest flick.  This movie is about a U.S. Marshall, Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale), stationed in Antarctica and about to head out on a plane back to the states after a couple of years of wintering over.  She’s got a troubled past, and she fled to the gig in the South Pole in part to recover from it.  But after a few years of repeat-all, day in and day out, she’s ready to return to the real world and go back to tackling some serious crime.  Her plans to head out are put on ice (ha ha!) when a dead body is found frozen solid not far from the base.  The body leads Stetko, and a UN investigator sent to help her solve the case (ostensibly because Antarctica is a global possession and therefore, crime there has international implications), to a buried plane that had crashed in the area fifty or so years ago.  A deeper look reveals the recent theft of something from a broken lock box on the plane, and the more Stetko and her new partner dig in, the more bodies start piling up.  Skerritt plays the base doctor, who, as the only resident with any medical training, ends up also having to stick around to help Stetko autopsy the bodies.  Eventually, we’re left with a group of only about four or five people, one of whom we  know has to be the killer.

The plot is pretty much as predictable as it sounds and the acting isn’t all that great either (not really much of a Beckinsale fan, I will confess), but I still enjoyed watching this flick, primarily because of the setting.  Antarctica is an interesting place, and I’ve always been fascinated by stories about the people who choose to live there — I’m thinking specifically of two at the moment: Icebound by Dr. Jerri Nielsen (a memoir about her own winter at the Pole as base doctor, which didn’t involve murders but did involve having to treat herself for breast cancer — unfortunately, that same cancer came back and took her life last June) and Dark Winter by William Dietrich (a murder mystery of much greater complexity than this one, and one I highly recommend).

Actually, I’ve always kind of gravitated to stories about people who live in isolated or closed communities — stories about convents, private schools, islands, mysteries set in mansions, etc.  There’s something very intriguing to me about the way people interact in those close-knit settings.  And so, in that regard, I found this film intriguing enough to want to keep watching.  If what you’re after is a smart thriller, I’m afraid you’re going to have to look elsewhere.  On the other hand, if what you’re after is a snowy setting, Tom Skerritt with an absolutely dashing beard (as per usual, only it’s even dashinger now that it’s white), and Alex O’Loughlin with his shirt off, you need go no further.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Action, Mystery
Cast:  Kate Beckinsale, Tom Skerritt, Alex O’Loughlin, Gabriel Macht

Tags: ,

9 Responses to “MOVIE: Whiteout (2009)”

  1. Lisa Says:

    alex, alex, alex. i watched you in your relatively lame vampire series, and, bad writing notwithstanding, i found you charming. but. BUT. i just learned your next movie is a rom-com opposite jennifer aniston. dammit, alex.

  2. Hollie Says:

    I have Icebound in my pile of books to read, but now I don’t want to read it! I’ll just be all happy that she’s okay at the end of the book and then cry because I know she’s gone.

    I think I’m going to rent Icebound tonight.

  3. Firedrake Says:

    I’m not much of a comics fan, but I did pick up the collected Whiteout after the film reviews panned the acting but recommended the plot. It’s quite fun.

  4. Trip Says:

    So, you like books about Antarctica, eh?

    Try this one on for size:

    A great read for the plane or the bedside.

  5. megwood Says:

    Sweet, thanks, Trip! Just ordered a used copy from Amazon. Sounds perfect!

  6. Richard Harland Smith Says:

    I liked Tom Skeritt as Dr. Kris Kristofferson.

  7. megwood Says:

    Almost as good as Jeff Bridges as country music singer Kris Kristofferson? (Although, I haven’t seen that movie yet myself.)

  8. Liz Says:

    Hey, Lisa – that rom-com that Alex is in is with Jennifer LOPEZ, not Anniston! However, it still sounds dumb – strange, but dumb! I LIKED his vampire series, and didn’t think it was lame! In fact, I like HIM a lot, but I still don’t think I’ll bother with that movie with J-Lo!

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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: