14 September 2009


Directed by: Dominic Sena
Written by: Jon & Erich Hoeber and Chad & Carey Hayes
Full credits at IMDb

Like Christopher Nolan's Insomnia, Whiteout, a frost-blooded murder mystery, transfers the Scandinavian trend in cold-clime detective fiction—albeit more prevalent in novels like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo than in film—to American soil: though here we're not in Palin country like in Mr. Batman's Pacino-led remake, but on a U.S.-controlled research base in Antarctica. As such, the film evokes another recent trend: the global warming horror movie.

Though global warming gets namechecked only once in Whiteout, and off-handedly, it's the ever-present subtext; the film transforms the culture's climate change anxiety into a polar panic, like the recent The Last Winter. There's no supernatural element here, no mystical spirit warriors freed from their icy prisons like in Larry Fessenden's gonzo allegory. But this film's murder rate is unbound when a buried artifact is loosed from its frozen tomb, the message being: what's buried ought stay buried; there's nothing but trouble under the ice—so don't let it melt!

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