Whiteout (2009) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 5

directing 3

effects 5

editing 5

writing 4

SW SCORE: 22

2 out of 5 🐙

++

Tom Skerritt! I haven’t seen him in a movie in ages. I’m not saying he hasn’t had work. I just haven’t seen him. I’ve always liked him. He always felt like a cerebral Charles Bronson to me. Not that Mr. Bronson lacks cerebral power. I mean more in terms of acting style and general appearance. Kate Beckinsale is stunning and a capable actress, but I haven’t seen her in a minute, either. This movie feels like a weigh station in both of their careers. Maybe it could be the first step towards blowing up their careers? 

It wasn’t. There were a few decent moments, but all in all this was a parade of tropes and cliches from various genres. 

The opening scene consists of a pretty clever and entertaining murder aboard a plane. While cool, it seems a little strange to kill someone on a plane knowing it could possibly cause a crash and the assassin would die, too. 

Cliche 1: classic rock seems to be played over the establishing shot of every movie that takes place in a military base or isolated research/science post. Other musical genres are available, amigos. 

Cliche 2: gratuitous undressing scene that generally focuses on female characters in the film but serves up the beefcake, too. Sex sells. 

Cliche 3: there is ALWAYS a storm coming. Never in the history of action or thriller movies has the weather been nice.

Cliche 4: if the principals are prepared for the storm, it always arrives much earlier than their plans account for.

Cliche 5: hero doesn’t want help; heroes always want to work alone. I don’t understand why they can’t see the benefit of teamwork. I mean, they must have seen action movies featuring other heroes who ALWAYS relent to a partnership after initially resisting. 

Cliche 6: in a fury, the character shoves everything off the desk. In an increasingly paperless society, will this scene go the way of the Dodo?

Besides this litany of laziness, the dialogue suffers from far too much exposition and clunky gung-ho chatter. The big reveal is a letdown. ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT: The exposed murderer is a blandly drawn character. I’d criticize the acting as well, but they didn’t have much to work with. Top those missteps off with a complete lack of investigative work by the marshall and flashbacks that add little to the narrative, and you get a perfect storm of mediocrity. 

Decent special effects, Kate Beckinsale’s charism, Tom Skerritt’s veteran chops, and an uncommon setting in Antarctica can’t overcome the march of tropes. 

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

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