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Whiteout (2009 film)

Whiteout (French: Whiteout: Enfer blanc)[5] is a 2009 thriller film based on the 1998 comic book of the same name by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber. Directed by Dominic Sena, with uncredited reshoots by Stuart Baird and Len Wiseman, it stars Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Columbus Short, Tom Skerritt, and Alex O'Loughlin. The film was distributed by Warner Bros. and released on September 11, 2009.[6] It was produced under the banner of Dark Castle Entertainment by Joel Silver, Susan Downey and David Gambino.

Whiteout poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDominic Sena
Produced byJoel Silver
Susan Downey
David Gambino
Screenplay byJon Hoeber
Erich Hoeber
Chad Hayes
Carey Hayes
Based onWhiteout
1999 novel
by Greg Rucka
Steve Lieber
StarringKate Beckinsale
Tom Skerritt
Columbus Short
Gabriel Macht
Music byJohn Frizzell
CinematographyChristopher Soos
Edited byMartin Hunter
Stuart Baird
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • September 11, 2009 (2009-09-11) (Canada and United States)
  • October 21, 2009 (2009-10-21) (France)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$35 million[3]
Box office$17,840,867[4]

The movie is set in Antarctica, where Special Deputy U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is planning to leave in a few days. After finding a dead body, Stetko is attacked by a masked killer who is trying to get hold of the cargo in an old Soviet plane that crash-landed in the ice during the Cold War.


In 1957 a Russian cargo plane is flying above Antarctica. In the cargo hold, three Russians sit with a padlocked box. The co-pilot leaves his seat and goes into the cargo hold, then begins to shoot the other men, who return fire. The chaos caused by the gunfight leads to a crash which kills all aboard.

In modern times, newcomers arrive at the United States' Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, while others who are scheduled to leave are preparing to do so early because of a storm. They must depart before the onset of winter or remain for six months. Special Deputy U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) has been working in Antarctica for two years, since a betrayal by her partner in Miami that killed him and nearly killed her. She plans to resign after returning to the United States in two days.

Stetko, her friend Doc (Tom Skerritt), and pilot Delfy (Columbus Short) fly to the remote Haworth Mesa to retrieve a discovered body. The dead man is Anton Weiss (Marc James Beauchamp), one of a group of three scientists looking for meteorites. An autopsy finds evidence of murder by ax. A murder requires a federal investigation; Stetko considers sending the body to McMurdo Station to avoid spending another winter in Antarctica, but decides to continue the investigation. When Stetko goes to speak to one of the others at Vostok Station, she finds him dying from a neck wound and is herself attacked by a black-clad man with an ax. Stetko injures her hands in escaping, losing the wet skin of her fingers on the metal handle of a door. Later, she finds Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht), a United Nations security agent, examining the body of the second scientist. They conclude that the third, who is missing, must be the killer and set out to explore the group's most recent search site. There, Stetko falls through the ice to find the old Russian cargo plane. Pryce and Delfy join her to investigate, and they realize that the locked box had been opened and six cylinders removed. Pryce reveals that it is possible that nuclear fuel of interest to arms traffickers may be in the cylinders.

After nearly being trapped by a cave-in at the plane, Stetko must have her badly frostbitten fingers amputated by Doc. She then finds the missing scientist hiding in her office. He tells her that he and his two companions found the plane and took the canisters, but the killer has them now. Before Stetko can protect him he is killed, but Stetko captures his killer, who is revealed to be Australian biologist Russell Haden (Alex O'Loughlin). The base commander orders everyone to evacuate because of the murders. With Haden locked in the brig and the winter storm near, Stetko and Pryce search for the canisters. However, Haden manages to escape and starts pursuing Stetko and Pryce. The three end up outside the base while the winter storm happens, and just when Haden corners, and is about to kill, Stetko, Pryce arrives and cuts Haden's safety rope and he is dragged onto the base's wall as a result of the storm's heavy winds, fatally smashing his head in the process.

Stetko checks the last departing plane's cargo manifest and learns that the bodies of the dead scientists were not aboard. She searches their body bags and notices that the stitching on Weiss's old wound matches the distinctive pattern on her amputated fingers. Stetko explores the body and finds several bags of large, uncut diamonds. Doc confesses that he was part of a diamond smuggling ring with the others before Haden killed the rest. He had hoped that the diamonds would make him wealthy outside Antarctica. When Doc tells Stetko he wants to see the aurora australis one last time, she allows him to walk outside to his death.

Six months later, Stetko, Pryce, and Delfy have wintered at the facility. She transmits an email to her superior, rescinding her previous resignation and asking for a warmer location for her assignment.


  • Kate Beckinsale as Carrie Stetko, the Special Deputy U.S. Marshal investigating the killings at the base.[7][8]
  • Tom Skerritt as Dr. John Fury, the base doctor.
  • Columbus Short as Delfy, a pilot who helps Stetko in the investigation.[9]
  • Gabriel Macht as Robert Pryce, a UN security agent who aids Stetko in the investigation.[10]
  • Alex O'Loughlin as Russell Haden, a biologist.[9]
  • Shawn Doyle as Sam Murphy, the station's manager.
  • Joel Keller as Jack
  • Jesse Todd as Rubin
  • Arthur Holden as McGuire
  • Erin Hicock as Rhonda
  • Bashar Rahal as Russian Pilot
  • Julian Cain as Russian co-pilot
  • Roman Varshavky, Dennis Keiffer, and Andrei Runtso as Russian guards
  • Steve Lucescu as Mooney
  • Paula Jean Hixson as Lab Tech
  • Craig A. Pinckes as Craig Pinckes
  • Sean Tucker as Operations Tech
  • Marc James Beauchamp as Anton Weiss
  • Nick Villarin as Newbie
  • Louis Dionne as Man in Hall
  • Patrick Sabongui as Miami Prisoner


In November 1999, Columbia Pictures acquired feature film rights to the comic book Whiteout by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber.[11] An adapted screenplay for the film was written by Jon and Erich Hoeber.[12] The script was written to have a male character star opposite the female lead, since the studio was hesitant on how large a film audience the original setup of two female leads would draw.[11] By November 2002, the studio placed the project on turnaround after a lack of production, and the rights were acquired by Universal Studios. The studio cast Reese Witherspoon to star in Whiteout, which would be based on the screenplay written by the Hoebers.[12] By May 2004, a second draft of the script had been written, and a director was still being sought.[13] Ultimately, rights over the film changed ownership, detaching Witherspoon from the project.[14]

In October 2006, Whiteout entered development at Dark Castle Entertainment, with production slated to begin in the coming winter for a release date in the first quarter of 2008.[15] Dominic Sena, a fan of the graphic novel since its '98 debut, had sought to acquire the rights to direct a film adaptation, and when rights were acquired by Dark Castle, Sena petitioned to producer Joel Silver, president of the company, for the opportunity to direct Whiteout.[16] In February 2007, with Warner Bros. signed on to distribute Whiteout, Sena was hired to direct the film, based on the adapted screenplay by the Hoebers. In the same month, Beckinsale was cast in the lead role.[7] Production began on March 5, 2007 in Manitoba, with later footage being shot in Montreal, Quebec.[17] A set was also constructed on the shore of Lake Winnipeg.[18] The film was primarily set in a bright world of ice and sunlight, an unconventional approach to the murder mystery genre. Both real and fake snow were used in production. The author of the graphic novel, Greg Rucka, applauded the film adaptation of his source material, but upon seeing the finished film felt differently, saying that "Comic Carrie and One Act Play Carrie would shake Movie Carrie down behind the bleachers, laugh her out of the You Share Our Name Club, and send her limping and mewling home to mother. And they wouldn't feel a moment's regret about doing it, either.".[19] Filming concluded a few weeks before Comic-Con in July 2007.[8]


Critical responseEdit

The film was panned by critics.'s Moviefone staff rated it as the 8th worst movie of 2009.[20] Based on 113 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Whiteout has a 'rotten' 7% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 3.5/10.[21] By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 28, based on 19 reviews.[22] Richard Roeper gave the movie 2 stars in the Chicago Sun Times, calling it a "formulaic thriller that is ultimately no less predictable or interesting simply because it is set in the coldest and most isolated place on Earth."[23] Online critics at Zap2it claim, "The film moves like frozen molasses, letting the audience get out ahead of the narrative developments at every turn."[24]

Box officeEdit

The film was released to U.S. theaters on September 11, 2009. It was a box office bomb. The film continued to have major decreases in ticket sales, and has a gross of $10,275,638 to date.[25] It has grossed only $7,565,229 internationally to date, bringing the total return to just $17,840,867 from a budget of $35 million.


The theatrical release was on September 11, 2009. The film was released on DVD[26] and Blu-ray on January 19, 2010.[27]


  1. ^ "Whiteout – released". AlloCiné. Archived from the original on November 5, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  2. ^ "Whiteout - released". AlloCiné. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  3. ^ "Tyler Perry: The brand that keeps on delivering". Los Angeles Times. September 13, 2009. Archived from the original on September 23, 2009. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
  4. ^ "Whiteout (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  5. ^ "Whiteout : L'enfer blanc - released". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "Whiteout Now Happens in September". Coming Soon Media, L.P. October 29, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  7. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (February 7, 2007). "Sena to direct 'Whiteout'". Variety. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Rotten, Ryan (July 27, 2007). "Comic-Con '07: Warner Bros. Preview". Coming Soon Media, L.P. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved July 30, 2007.
  9. ^ a b Siegel, Tatiana; Borys Kit (March 19, 2007). "Duo warm up for Silver's 'Whiteout'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 5, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2007.
  10. ^ McClintock, Pamela (March 14, 2007). "Macht lights on 'Whiteout'". Variety. Archived from the original on November 11, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  11. ^ a b Weiland, Jonah (November 5, 2002). "WITHERSPOON AND UNIVERSAL ICE 'WHITEOUT'". Comic Book Resources. Boiling Points Production. Archived from the original on December 27, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  12. ^ a b Bing, Jonathan (November 4, 2002). "U picks up snow job pic". Variety. Archived from the original on November 13, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  13. ^ Wilson, Jericho; Matt Brady (May 4, 2004). "BRU, COOKE, RUCKA: WRAPPING UP WONDERCON COVERAGE". Newsarama. Imaginova. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  14. ^ Weiland, Jonah (February 23, 2007). "NYCC, Day 1: Whiteout Returns! Rucka & Lieber Talk". Comic Book Resources. Boiling Point Productions. Archived from the original on April 3, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  15. ^ Goldsmith, Jill; Pamela McClintock (October 15, 2006). "Silver slots solo slate". Variety. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  16. ^ Moro, Eric; Scott Collura (July 28, 2007). "SDCC 07: Exclusive: Whiteout Helmer Chat". IGN. Archived from the original on January 1, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2007.
  17. ^ Moro, Eric (March 3, 2007). "WonderCon 07: Whiteout, Haunted Hill". IGN. Archived from the original on January 3, 2009. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  18. ^ Murray, Rebecca (April 3, 2007). "Producer Joel Silver Talks "Speed Racer" and "Whiteout"". Archived from the original on October 31, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  19. ^ Why I write strong female characters Archived 2014-09-06 at the Wayback Machine IO9. Retrieved October 25, 2015
  20. ^ Furlong, Maggie; Moviefone Staff (23 December 2009). "The 10 Worst Movies of 2009". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  21. ^ "Whiteout review". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Metacritic review page". Metacritic. 11 September 2009. Archived from the original on 10 September 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
  23. ^ "Roeper's White Out review". Sun Times. Retrieved 11 September 2009.[dead link]
  24. ^ "Zap2it's White Out review". Zap2it. Archived from the original on 15 September 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  25. ^ "Whiteout (2009) - Box Office Mojo". Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  26. ^ "Exclusive Clip From the Whiteout Blu-ray". Archived from the original on 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  27. ^ "Early Whiteout DVD and Blu-ray Details". Archived from the original on 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2009-11-29.

External linksEdit