Movie Review: “Whiteout”

OVERALL: Love it and SNOW, ANTARCTICA, SNOW, COLD, KATE BECKINSDALE, SNOW! Though, is that really what a U.S. Marshall would do?

POINTS: OMG so much fun! I love snow and cold so any movie that takes place in such weather. (I have been caught in a whiteout so yes they are real and yes they are terrifying.) I love how the characters have to survive in the cold AND solve a mystery. I love how Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsdale) grows as a character and embraces her own skill set. 🙂 Very cool. (No pun intended.)

Also note that this movie was adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Greg Rucka. Now there’s an author who can write great women and men! Plus Rucka’s novel passes the Bechdel Test (see below).

PITFALLS: POSSIBLE SPOILERS as the below pitfalls are plot moments.

1. Stetko’s Gun. Ok, so a lot of times I will watch movies with law enforcement people and I will think “Why didn’t they just pull their gun?” I thought this in Whiteout. At one point in the movie, Stetko is confronted by an attacker with an ice pick. Ouch. She intelligently gets out of the way and begins to throw posts and pans and other items at him to get herself time to get space between them. I mean, you do not want an ice pick slicing in to you. However, WTF? We see Stetko several scenes previous, get her gun and arm herself so why doesn’t she just pull the gun and shoot? She gains space between herself and the attacker and hey a slug from a gun will slow somebody down if not outright kill them. But instead Stetko just keeps running. This eventually causes her to get frostbite on two fingers which she later loses. Huh? I mean really? It kind of makes our heroine look like an idiot and that bugs me. I love women characters who get to be their own women, capable of their assigned tasks. However when the female character makes a choice like this one, well I think, “Really? Ya’ just couldn’t make the heroine as capable as say a male lead.” That bugs the sh*t out of me.

See that kind of writing shows that women still can’t be as good as men. I don’t know why this freaks people out? We are all equal and that is that. Women don’t need to be weak in order for men to be strong. But that’s another post.

2. Investigating the Ice. At one point Stetko and two trusted allies, an Interpol agent and a pilot who is Stetko’s friend, go out to investigate on the ice. They find a spot and wish to take a closer look. This is fine, HOWEVER, there is no way in Hell that the pilot, an experienced living in Antarctica human being, would leave the snow worthy vehicle they arrived in and TURN IT OFF! Nope! He would have stayed in the vehicle, leaving it on, and made sure that Stetko and the Interpol agent got back safely. The minute Stetko and the officer fell into the ice our experienced pilot would have called the base requesting backup. That way the worst case scenario for these characters would have been rescue in several hours. Instead we have to wonder if our characters will get out of the hole, if they will be able to start up the vehicle and if they will live. Yes, yes, that all sounds very exciting except it makes the characters look stupid. Really stupid.

3. Civil Liberty Violations. Ok, I know this might be bit picky, but hey, there is nothing tiny or not worth mentioning when civil liberties get violated. At one point Stetko and Interpol Agent are talking to the Bad Guy (he really is, BTW) and they threaten to cut off his fingers. Granted he was being a shit and he is the reason Stetko lost her fingers to frostbite, but mistreating a prisoner, well, peeps, that ain’t constitutional. Even if the perp is an Australian and therefore is not under the U.S. Constitution, I’m an obnoxious enough American to think that everyone should be treated with those rights.

4. Shower Scene. Oh good grief do we have to have the heroine strip and take a shower so the het males on the set and in the audience can oggle her? Tired of it! However, yes there is a brief shot of several men running naked in the ice and we do have full frontal male nudity. For you Alex O’Loughlin fans, get this movie now. 😉

HIGH POINTS: SPOILER ALERT! I LOVE in the end when Stetko looks out over the Aurora and admires the beauty of the Antarctic. The music swells, there is peace. Yes! Our heroine has grown and conquered! So excellent. 🙂 Woman triumphant! Hooray! I like it. 🙂

Plus Stetko has a great relationship with the base doctor, aka Doc, and the person in charge of the base. They talk to each other as equals with respect and when they tease each other it isn’t in an obnoxious, sexualized, or sexist way. In fact Doc is Stetko’s good buddy and I like seeing a friendship between men and women. 🙂 Squee!

Also our trust pilot is black and that is good! I do get sick of seeing only white people in movies. I need more diversity. 🙂 Plus the pilot is a cool, capable character who is a friend and helps Stetko. He is a good person and a good character. Like very much!

END SPOILERS

FEMALE CHARACTER(S): Oh Agent Carrie Stetko played by the fabulous Kate Beckinsdale, I love ya’! Granted you did do a few silly things (see Pitfalls) but is that your fault? Nope. We know that Rucka didn’t write you that way and although I think the movie makers really liked you, they just couldn’t make you 100% badass. But dear, 99% badass is just fine. 🙂 Plus, good grief, Kate Beckinsdale once again takes charge and takes the screen. I’m a fan and always will be. Go Kate!

As mentioned above, I like how Stetko and Doc are best friends on the ice and treat each other as such. I also like how the pilot and Stetko get along. All of the good characters act without sexist nonsense and the bad ones are sexist. 🙂

CULTURAL PITFALL(S): As mentioned above it is hard for this movie to make Stetko 100% badass. But hey, she is 99% and that is good. I like so many other aspects of this movie, that this can be forgiven/overlooked. I doubt it was intentional.

BECHDEL TEST (Website): 0. Argh! Carrie Stetko is so much fun and well Kate is a blast to watch. Note however that there are many women in the background doing work. There is the air traffic control head and two scientists who discuss testing the ice. They talk about ice and science, or plane/flight schedules and it is cool. 🙂 Still doesn’t meet the Bechdel Test for anything other than a 0 but Lion here likes it and approves. A Step In the Right Direction!

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365929/

DVD/BLU-RAY WORTHY: Why yes of course! In fact I am watching it on DVD right now. I would probably have purchased it on Blu-Ray but it wasn’t available.

LION PAW PRINTS:  4. It’s a happy place movie that I like to watch over and over again. In fact, I have!!

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3 responses to “Movie Review: “Whiteout”

  1. I am hoping to watch the movie this week. The Graphic Novel is A+.

    Greg Rucka Signed my copy “Keep your gloves on.” at Rosecity Comicon last year.

    In the novel she doesn’t have a gun because it is a violation on international treaty.

    I am excited that Carrie’s spiritual sister Tara Chace may get a movie adaption In a Queen and Country movie. Originally the Brit agent a female in the book, was supposed to be Chace under cover, but Rucka then made them two different people.

    • Wow. I did not know that about international law. Plus you are so lucky to have met Greg Rucka – what a cool quote.

      I’ve read some Queen and Country including the novels. I would love to see a good screen adaptation.

  2. Pingback: Media Thoughts: “Thank You, Greg Rucka” | Chick Flicking Reviews·

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