“CSI: Antarctica. Only, without the actual, y’know, interest…”
“Oh, look,” I said to Chris. “Whiteout is just starting. It’s about a US marshal investigating a murder in Antarctica. Let’s take a look, shall we?” And, of course, the first thing we see is Kate Beckinsale bending over in her underwear, as she undresses to take a shower. I haven’t heard her eyes whirring as they rolled in her skull like that, probably since the first 20 minutes of Bitch Slap. I’ll have to sit through a few Ghost Whisperer episodes to make up for that. God forbid, maybe even stay awake for one. The sad news is, that was probably the most memorable moment in a film which, on balance, is marginally less interesting than the weather phenomena name-checked in the title.
After an incident in which she blasted her dirty-cop partner out of a high window, Carrie Stetko (Beckinsale) takes refuge in a post at the South Pole. A body is found out on the remote ice, and turns out to be part of a research team – though their camp is nowhere in the area. Stetko gets a call from one of the remaining members of the team, and goes to meet him at a remote station, only to find him dead and be attacked by a masked figure with an ice-axe. Shortly afterwards, she meets UN security agent Robert Pryce (Macht); initially suspicious, it turns out they have to work with each other and find out what is going on, as a massive storm heads towards their base, forcing the early evacuation of everyone else on it.
Memo to the makers. A crap, non-thrilling “thriller” doesn’t get any better because it’s dumped in a frozen wasteland, even if that means you can add interminable sequences of people shuffling between buildings while holding on to ropes. Chunks of this make little or no sense: after Stetko is attacked by the ice-axe wielder, she inexplicably fails to investigate at all, even though he must still be on the base, as there’s nowhere much else to go. This kind of logical flaw plagues the film, and wastes what might have been a good idea – especially if they’d gone with two female leads, as in the comic-book which inspired it. The whole thing is entirely forgettable. Unfortunately, I suspect Chris probably won’t let me do so for quite a while…
Dir: Dominic Sena
Star: Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Columbus Short, Tom Skerritt