Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Tom Skerritt, Columbus Short, Alex O'Loughlin, Shawn Doyle, Joel S. Keller, Jesse Todd, Arthur Holden, Erin Hickock
Written by: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Chad Hayes, Carey W. Hayes, based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka
Directed by: Dominic Sena
MPAA Rating: R for violence, grisly images, brief strong language and some nudity
Running Time: 96
Date: 09/09/2009
IMDB

Whiteout (2009)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Dense of Snow

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Whiteout has been sitting on the shelf for some time now, as if in winter storage. Perhaps during that time it grew lethargic and atrophied as well. Finally released, it resembles a murder mystery with some action and suspense thrown in, but none of these elements achieves its desired effect. The mystery is not mysterious, the action is not exciting, and the suspense is more like boredom. Based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka, the movie takes place at a scientific research facility in Antarctica (a screen title elaborates on just where and what Antarctica is, just in case you've never heard of it). U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is stationed there, recovering from flashbacks to her violent past.

Winter is coming, and so is a huge storm, and so the facility's entire populace prepares to leave, or face getting stuck for six months. But first Stetko must investigate a dead body inexplicably lying in the middle of nowhere; it turns out a masked killer is on the loose, and it all has something to do with a Russian plane that crashed 50 years earlier. The film's four screenwriters and director Dominic Sena provide either no clues or too many clues, and the suspects are narrowed down to the three people who actually appear onscreen for more than 30 seconds: pilot Delfy (Columbus Short), Doc Fury (Tom Skerritt) and a shifty, suspicious U.N. guy who has come in to help (Gabriel Macht).

Then there are the action sequences, which are among the year's worst, including Transformers 2. In one, there are three figures, including one woman and one bad guy. All three are wearing identical goggles, coats and hoods, in a blinding snowstorm. Sena shakes the camera and cuts all over the place as the three anonymous figures attack and evade one another. Even though all three are attached to a rope and the space is all mapped out, Sena turns it into mashed potatoes, and it's an unwatchable mess. As for suspense, well... the snow is coming, and when the screen turns white, then it has arrived. The result is sort of like a blank wall, but coupled with the gnawing sensation of wasted time.

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