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Sunday, 28 November 2010

WHITEOUT (2009)

Based on the awesome Oni Press graphic novel by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber, Whiteout is the chilly story of US Marshal Carrie Steko as she is pitted against a killer at a research base in Antarctica, just before the sun is about to set over the whole place for six months. It got mixed reviews upon release, but is a solid piece of action-packed entertainment for the discerning viewer.

It's a million miles away from your average comic book film, and that's one of its strengths. It's gritty, violent and gripping, and the sub-zero setting evokes The Thing and 30 Days of Night. There are no aliens, vampires or monsters, but there's a lot of tension, a lot of running, and a lot of edge-of-the-seat moments as Carrie and her colleagues fight against the elements as well as the villain.

The film is relentlessly bleak, much like its setting, which is maybe why it has its detractors, but those things work well in its favour. The setting adds a huge amount of atmosphere, I mean, that place is terrifying in itself without a killer trying to pick you off.

The plot is twisty enough to keep the grey matter bubbling away (although one particular twist is visible from about five minutes in), and the action sequences keep the adrenaline going. The limited locations add claustrophobia to proceedings, which are already very tense for much of the film's running time.

Beckinsale is on top form as Carrie, and is a little less predictable than other characters she has portrayed in other genre films, and her American accent is pretty level throughout it. There are faults here and there, mostly involving pacing issues around the midway mark, but it's a decent thrill-ride with some very striking visuals, and well worth checking out on one of these long winter nights.





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