Short Movie Review: Whiteout

I can’t think about Whiteout without remembering how I had to buy the graphic novel twice because my original copy was stolen when Dan’s car got broken into many years back. (Also stolen: my graphing calculator, a frisbee, and a ridiculously clunky pre-ipod CD player that could handle MP3 CDs.)

So, Whiteout is the film based on Grek Rucka’s graphic novel about a U.S. Marshal solving a murder mystery in Antarctica(!) I enjoyed the comic but I passed on seeing this in the theatre due the weak reviews it received from critics. Unfortunately I should probably have passed on Netflixing it. It’s that lame.

Rucka’s underlying story is still mostly there, but the pacing of the film is so awful that it’s just crippled in the adaptation. All of the character that seemed quirky or mysterious in the comics come across as bland and uninteresting in the film. It also suffers from a glut of Hollywood/committee style dumbing down with elements like flashbacks (because the audience couldn’t possibly remember what we showed them 25 minutes ago), complete removal of any discussion of the history/politics of Antarcita (that are critical to why solving the murder is so hard in the comic), and the gender switch out of a major character, I guess to serve as possible love interest where that didn’t exist before? (Also we wouldn’t want to market a movie with two strong female leads, right?) Also sad: the comic ends with a cool Mexican standoff that resolves unexpectedly, the film has a silly extended fight sequence that didn’t quite make sense.

So yeah, really not worth your time even if you like the source material. Antarctica is a pretty sweet setting for a story though, go reread the comic, or if you want to see a movie set there rewatch John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing.