WHITEOUT : DVD/Bly-Ray Review

Warner Home Video
Release date: Jan 19, 2010
MSRP: Blu-ray: $35.99, DVD: $28.98

Director: Dominic Sena
Stars: Kate Beckinsdale, Tom Skerritt, Gaberiel Macht, Columbus Short
Writers: Jon Hoeber (screenplay), Erich Hoeber (screenplay), Chad Hayes (screenplay), Carey W. Hayes (screenplay), Greg Rucka (graphic novel), Steve Lieber(graphic novel

Based on the wonderful Graphic novel of the same name, WHITEOUT follows U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsdale). Carrie is stationed at a research facility and spends her time being haunted by events of the past and counting the days until she can get the hell out of there. Just days before her planned departure, the first murder in the history of the continent occurs. It is up to Carrie to solve it.

I am a big fan of the source material and was pleased as punch when I heard this film was being made. The story is pretty straightforward and visually this could be amazing.

Sadly, director Dominic Sena offers up a clumsy, watered down version for the silver screen. Visually, the film really drops the ball. What should have been breathtaking is a rather bland. I never really felt the menace of the frigid wasteland. Forget the killer, one stupid mistake outside and death is immanent. Yet this film never really takes advantage of the setting. Oh sure, they keep reminding us how cold it is, but fail to convey the dangers or make the setting a major element. We have all heard of setting as a character, that certainly should have been the case here.

The film is presented in 1080p with with a ratio of 2.39:1. Visually, there are some nice elements. WHITEOUT was shot in Canada and the Blu-ray offers up some beautiful shots of the countryside. The picture is very sharp and the details are very clear. There is a lack of color (no surprise considering the setting) but what little we do get looks good.
On the downside, some of the images that are computer generated really stand out. The HD picture leaves little margin for error in that area.

For audio, we have Dolby TrueHD. This elements of Antarctica come across nicely, with the winds dancing all around us. An early scene featuring gunfire and a plane is quite impressive as well. But there are only a handful of scenes that make use of the sound.
There is also French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks as well as English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Extras include a couple of deleted scenes as well as two featurettes.

If the storyline sounds interesting, do yourself a favor and pick up the excellent graphic novels. The money would be better spent there than on this film.

For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.