Mark Reviews Movies


1 ˝ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Dominic Sena

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Tom Skerritt, Columbus Short, Alex O'Loughlin, Shawn Doyle

MPAA Rating: R (for violence, grisly images, brief strong language and some nudity)

Running Time: 1:41

Release Date: 9/11/09

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Review by Mark Dujsik

Dear Ms. Stetko,

We have received your e-mail regarding the withdrawal of your resignation from the United States Marshals Service. We wish to commend your valiant efforts over the years in the law enforcement field.

However, after reviewing your actions in the multiple homicide investigation that took place some six months ago in an Antarctic U.S. science base, as documented in the movie Whiteout, we do thank you for expressing your change of heart, but must state that your official status with the USMS remains as resigned from active duty.

As you have served with this agency for a few years, I feel it is only fair of me to explain the agency's decision at a certain amount of length.

Living in Antarctica cannot be easy, even if it seems you take more time stripping down for a shower than you do working in the field or in your office during the slower times.

I can only assume the movie's extended look into your undressing habits has to do with the casting of Kate Beckinsale as you. We at the service can appreciate Ms. Beckinsale's physical characteristics, but we also feel once she revealed the US Marshal badge, the rest was simply for titillation purposes.

There is certain to be a level of monotony to a job such as the one you held at the base in Antarctica (which the movie does thankfully subtitle with our official nickname for the continent: "The Coldest, Most Isolated Land Mass on the Planet." This is sure help curtail the problem we've had of increased tourism over the past couple of years, due to those dancing, singing, marching penguins). That monotony, though, passes over from your day-to-day routine of wandering around the base with no apparent goal to the investigation of the continent's first, second, and third homicide.

I must ask you outright: When you're involved in an investigation, do you typically ramble around without a clue as to what you're doing? When you discover a dead body, do you usually get lost in your own mind to an event that happened in Miami a while ago?  Do these "flashbacks" to your former, deceased partner's betrayal happen as often as they are presented in the movie?

It seems you are constantly in your head in the past. It's not just Miami. At one point, the movie shows you remembering an event that literally happened less than five minutes ago on screen. If these "flashbacks" are still as prevalent as they are in the movie, I sincerely hope you will seek some professional help.

In an investigation of this sort—in a remote location with a limited number of people around—you are certain to come across a series of suspicious folks. They may seem helpful at times; at others, they might seem distrustful. In a thriller, these folks are called "red herrings," but in our line of work, we call them suspects.

For example, you encountered Robert Pryce (who, based on your record, cannot have been as much of a bore in real life as Gabriel Macht is in the movie), an agent for the UN, standing over a dead body after you had established the only other person in the sealed building was the killer. He showed you his identification, and you took him along with you.

Despite your partner's betrayal, you are too trusting. You trust everyone intrinsically, from Pryce to your friend "Doc" (Tom Skerritt) to the pilot Delfy (Columbus Short). In a remote base in Antarctica, there are only a few suspects. We are disappointed you did not treat anyone around you as such.

As the scenes in the exterior of the base were shot in digitally adverse conditions (snow flying everywhere), the editing of the chase and fight sequences were so close to incoherent that the participants blend together, and the unfortunate fact that everyone was dressed in parkas and heavy snow gear, it's impossible to tell what things you did wrong outside. However, we did not miss the fact that a suspect was able to elude you using the cunning strategy of simply walking in the other direction.

We'd also like to point out that when a man is chasing you with an ice axe, it is perfectly acceptable to draw your sidearm in self-defense—especially when you only need to unzip your jacket two inches to reach it.

We do wish you the best in your future endeavors and that you do manage to find a warmer climate.

The good news: Unless you make your way to the North Pole, you're practically guaranteed that much.

Respectfully yours,

A. Marshal, USMS, Deputy Director of "The Coldest, Most Isolated Land Mass on the Planet" Branch

Copyright © 2009 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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