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Whiteout (2009) Print E-mail
Monday, 01 February 2010
ImageAt the outset I was hopeful while watching "Whiteout."  However, as time dragged on so did the film.  The film has had a complicated history and it shows in the final film.  "Whiteout" is based on a limited comic and the film's story is just as limited.

The film was shot in a miserable Antarctic setting.  The cold and misery shows on the actors.  The actors also seem to start showing signs of a busted movie as time wears on.  This is supposed to be a suspenseful film, but the mystery is dull and the turn of events of predictable.

In "Whiteout," Kate Beckinsale portrays a U.S. Marshal, Carrie, who is stationed by her own choice in Antarctica.  She is punishing herself for a botched drug bust, which ended up not even remotely being her fault.  She wastes her does taking reports on the theft of weed.  She has made friends with the base doctor played by Tom Skerritt.  Trouble will certainly ensue there.

When Carrie is summoned to the middle of nowhere to claim a frozen, dead body, she starts to uncover a plot that is far simpler than filmmakers would lead you to believe.  She is annoyed that this happens on her last day at the South Pole before winter sets in.

Carrie treks out to a Russian base to discover what happened to the dead man from one of his colleagues.  Unfortunately, she is attacked and suffers the loss of a few appendages.  It is at this point that the film drags out the chase.  The audience is already the wiser as to what is going down, thanks to a far too detailed film opening.  However, viewers will have to suffer through the monotonous chase sequences to get the last little detail.

I feel bad for the actors that had to brave the fierce weather to make this turd of a film.  I truly wish I could give a better report.  But alas, I cannot.
"Whiteout" does not come to Blu-ray with a stunning video transfer, and for the most part I can understand why.  The film was shot under difficult circumstances and miserable weather conditions.  Thought processes and equipment functionality becomes fuzzy under those conditions.  The film is a bit inconsistent.  Film grain goes from unnoticed to obtrusive with evident digital noise reduction in between.  Colors are bold but suffer from bleed due to wavering contrast levels.  Overblown contrast levels during the flashback sequences, which take place in Miami, creates an orange and red image that does stay clean.  Black levels are the strongest point for the video transfer.  The weak contrast also makes signs unreadable.  There is a tilting shot that shows a wooden sign with arrows in all directions and place names on the arrows.  These are virtually unreadable.  Oddly though, the same clip in a deleted scene is entirely readable.  Whites are not as clean as I would have liked for a film that takes place in snow and blizzards.  Fleshtones are also inconsistent.  My biggest gripe with the transfer would have to be the level of details.  Within the same sequence, one close up is vivid while the reverse is muddy.  If this a production issue, then it is evident the cold got to the camera operators.  Avid movie watchers will not be impressed with this transfer.

The audio is in much better shape than the video transfer.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track is strong, but has some issues.  The dialogue is generally clean and well prioritized.  However, there are instances of muffled lines and poor miked dialogue recordings.  The interior acoustics have been exaggerated by the sound designers.  It is not realistic by any means.  I happen to have first hand knowledge of this.  The surround channels are engaging.  However, there are key moments in which the surround channels fail to immerse and impress.  Winds whip through the audio channels, but directionality and panning is spotty.  LFE support is strong and complements full-band channels nicely.  The dynamic range is not as expansive as it could have been, but the elements of the audio track are nicely balanced.

There are only three bonus materials.  Sadly, there is no commentary track.  "The Coldest Thriller Ever" is about the harsh conditions in which the film was shot.  "From Page to Screen" covers the adaptation of the film form the comic.  Lastly, there are a few deleted scenes that don't offer much.  The package also comes with a Digital Copy of the film.

"Whiteout" might be a rent for some, but I can't recommend owning this release for either the film or the transfer.

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