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October 6, 2009

Film Fatale: Whiteout

whitout_poster1Based on the comic by writer Greg Rucka and artist Steve Lieber, Whiteout is directed by Dominic Sena, who also directed such classics as Swordfish… and we all know what a great movie that was. Originally the film was slated to be produced by Columbia Pictures, and a screenplay was written by Jon and Erich Hoeber. Then rights went to Universal Studios, and Reese Witherspoon was cast as lead character Carrie Stetko. Eventually the movie would come to be based on the screenplay by the Hoebers, with Kate Beckinsale as the lead and Dark Horse Entertainment obtaining the rights to the comic. That’s how the film came to fruition, and what a piece of shit they created indeed. I loved the comic (published by Oni Press), so how could this possibly have happened? I’ll tell you… marketing. The film sticks fairly close to the story for the most part, except for some very major changes. Allow me to explain. The basic premise of the story is that U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko is now working at McMurdo Station in Antartica after some turbulent events in her past, when a dead body is discovered. It turns out to be a murder, and Carrie has three days to solve it due to an incoming storm; and during the investigation the body count begins to rise. All right, so that’s all well and good. The movie sticks to this basic plot and even stays pretty true to the ending, with details from the comic dispersed throughout.

2008-11-29-whiteoutNow for the major changes. In the movie, Carrie runs into U.N. operative Robert Pryce who is investigating the murders as well. In the comic this part is played as a british spy named Lily….. yes, she’s a girl. Columbia felt that they wouldn’t be able to draw a big enough audience with two female leads (thanks, you sexist bastards), so they had the Hoebers write the part as a man. Consequently, a lot of the middle part of the plot geared around the investigation is extremely altered to fit the new story line (I prefer the original). My second big beef with this movie is the casting of Kate Beckinsale, and the way they chose to portray her character. The comic Carrie Stetko is one hard ass chick with muscular arms, who pretty much keeps to herself, while loathing all the snickering and attention she receives from her male counterparts as a result of her being one of the very few females in the area. Kate Beckinsale/Carrie Stetko is of course gorgeous and frail looking, which is the way they chose to portray her. While in the comic Carrie will yell at guys talking about her being a dyke because she turns them all down, in the movie when propositioned by a male colleague Kate replies with a “You’re *so and so* right?,” gives him a sexy look up and down his body, “Yeah, not interested,” and waltzes away. We’re also provided with a totally gratuitous butt shot of Kate in her underwear while she’s bending over to turn on the shower, and her butt fills half the screen. Nobody turns on the shower like that. Nobody.


Antartica indeed proves to be the biggest character in this story, which works so well in the comic because you can see the parallels between it, and the things Carrie shares in common with it. She loves the ice; in a quote between her and doc this is expressed – DOC: “They’ll come for you too someday. Drag you off the ice kicking and screaming…” CARRIE: “No way. I’m never going back. I’ll die here, an O.A.E. whose ashes get scattered over the pole.” Now tell me that’s not cooler than her being upset that she might have to stay on base for the winter, saying she’s already got her bathing suit packed…. And when she loses her fingers in the comic, she takes it like a man. She even makes jokes, like saying she’s giving someone the bird but they just can’t see it. In the movie she cries about it like a little girl. And I hate that they made the whole thing about greed. In the comic, you can obviously tell from the quote doc loved the ice too, and was being shipped out against his will. In the movie they made him hate the ice, and made his motive all about the greed. How boring. In the comic she even ends the investigation, letting her superior think it’s all about greed, not wanting to explain that it’s so much more than that. And the ending to this piece of shit story is the icing on the cake. Doc tells Kate that sometime she should stop to admire the “Southern Lights,” after she learns that he betrayed her. And the movie ends with her staring at them in the sky. What? Didn’t your friend just fuck you over and now you’re like – mmmm, they are pretty lights……..?!


This movie is 101 minutes long, and it felt like a heck of a lot longer than that. It felt like a made-for-tv movie you watch on a rainy thursday afternoon and think, eh, it’s shitty but it fits the mood right now, which is… shitty and boring. Don’t see this movie, do pick up the comic book.


The Movie Lady



  1. I read this series not long ago. I LOVE Ruka and I can’t wait to see the movie!

  2. Infinite Speech

    I wish you could hear me clapping right now! lol I was going to give the movie a look AFTER I read the book since I just found out last month it was based on a comic. And the fact that after the movie’s release there was NOTHING else said about it I assumed it did pretty horrible.

    Oh and I turn on the shower like that all the time…lol

  3. billy

    The previews looked really good for this movie. I honestly rarely go to the movies, usually only to take my kids but I did consider going to this one. Yes part of the reason is a crush on Kate Beckinsale.

  4. I liked the comic(s), and I’m surprised it didn’t translate well to the big screen. While I was reading it I kept thinking, “this would make a great movie!” Apparently not though! The fact that they made Carrie out to be a girly girly is reason enough to be annoyed. I wonder what Rucka thought of the film?

    The second volume was a much faster read than the first and would make for a decent action sequel if done properly.

  5. The Movie Lady

    @andrewhurst – Reader Beware!
    @Infinite Speech – I would say maybe the movie might seem better if you watch it before reading the comic but that’s what I did, and it was still bad lol.
    And do you wear sexy undies like her to do it too? 🙂
    @billy – I’m sure that’s why lots of people went! And if you do see it, she’s only in her undies once and the rest of the time she’s covered up from the neck down in thick clothes. Just in case you know, her bod is part of the reason you have a crush on her. 😉
    @Andy – I know! So annoying. And Rucka thought it was just fine. He said he thought it’d be hard to translate but told them to knock themselves out; and he might have tip toed around his opinion but it seemed like he thought it was ok by the way he was talking about the stuff they kept true to the comic. I chose to leave that stuff out because he didn’t show a strong opinion and was either 1. being nice 2. being biased or 3. I disagree! 🙂

  6. I’ve tried 3 times to watch this movie since it’s been on cable and haven’t made it all the way through yet. The third time I actually just got up and went outside to do yard work! lol

  7. Billy

    OK, so, I finally saw this flick. I actually thought it was really good…but, I see how it wouldn’t really stack up well against the comic too. I thought Beckinsale’s character was pretty tough in the movie, not all ripped and what not, but pretty darn tough (the scene when her flesh got ripped off her fingers, and later amputated!). I think not reading the comic is what made it good for me though. I didn’t really like the ending though, I guess I wanted a throw down between her and the Doc. 😀

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