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Movies You Aught Not Watch: Whiteout

by on December 22, 2010
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Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000-2009.

Rated R

It took slightly longer than three minutes for diminished mental capacity to set in during 2009’s “Whiteout” — an Antarctica-set murder mystery with a fatally low body temperature.

It somehow required four writers to adapt the story from Greg Rucka’s graphic novel about Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale), a U.S. Marshal investigating the first-ever murder in Antarctica.

Lest she be covered in a burly parka for 96 minutes, Beckinsale teases by stripping to her sports bra and tight white panties before strategically placed steam kicks in. Mind you, this almost-nudity is pretty much as exciting as “Whiteout” gets.

The U.S. Marshal Service might have a defamation case against “Whiteout,” given that its portrayal of said officers ranges from corrupt to moronic to the point of lunacy. Essentially, “Whiteout” suggests that if you can figure it out, you’ll probably qualify for duty. Expect an influx of applications, then.

Beckinsale doesn’t seem particularly tough, authoritative or knowledgeable, and her performance is unrepentantly lazy.

So electrifying in “Nothing But the Truth,” Beckinsale clearly can elevate for a good director. Here, she’s a pathetically blank slate, wispy even when her frostbitten fingers affix to freezing metal. Morose and disengaged, Beckinsale musters up all the expressiveness of a coma patient — a vacant cross between Nicole Kidman and Mary Louise Parker.

Director Dominic Sena (“Swordfish”) does little to visually distract from rampant idiocy. How many shots of freeze-burned bodies or planes skimming mountains can one movie contain? Walk-in beer coolers induce more shivers than “Whiteout.”