I play an Aussie pilot in the movie. I’m okay in it.
I don’t really love anything that I’ve ever done, and this is no exception to that.
But, it’s a fun movie, and it’s worth going to see.
— Alex O’Loughlin, IESB.net, 9 September 2009
Warning: If you have not seen the movie yet and still want to be surprised by the plotline, this will definitely spoil your fun! If you want to maybe understand the movie and Alex’s part in it better, this is exactly what you need! 😀
Whiteout is one of those movies that had all the ingredients to be a really good movie, but somehow the end result lacked the ability to grab the audience’s attention and be award-winning material! Don’t ask me how an interesting murder mystery combined with excellent actors, just did not cut it in the end?!
Reading a bio of the ‘villain’ Russell Haden (Alex’s character in the story) on the internet the other day, I realised that people might have totally missed the plot of the story. It can easily happen when things are not shown in chronological order, while unravelling the case and also when half of everything happening in the dark (I just know Paula will definitely not like most of these screencaps, because they are so dark. 🙂) (yup-Paula 😉 ).
I decided to summarize the story in my own way, by telling it as it happened over time, rather than how the movie plays out while the crime gets solved, when pieces of the puzzle fall into place randomly.
The story starts 60 years ago, when in 1957 a Russian plane carrying a shipment of uncut diamonds, flew over Antarctica. The guards and the pilots of the plane got into a shoot-out while in the air! Needless to say that the plane was doomed as soon as the pilot was shot. With everybody dead and presumably before the days of ‘black boxes’ and tracking devices, the plane could not easily be found on this ‘desert’ of ice and has been buried under the ice, with 60 years of snow storms covering it!
The present-day story starts a few days before the beginning of the movie. What complicates matters during the story, is that there are only a few days left before the majority of the personnel, from the base camp at the South Pole, would be leaving Antarctica for the winter and only a small group of skeleton staff will remain behind, totally cut off from the world.
We discover the events surrounding the people who actually find this gruesome, but valuable lost plane, that crashed those many years ago. Three American geologists (Anton Weiss, John Mooney and Michael Rubin) who were working at their research site ‘Camp Delta-One One’, found a reading of some large mass buried under the ice, while they were searching for meteorites in a specific area. Talking to others at base camp, they discover the legend of the Russian plane, carrying some sort of precious cargo, that went down 60 years ago. They keep quiet about their suspicions that they have found it and get themselves some dynamite to blast their way to it.
When they find the lock-box inside the plane, they struggle to open it. In the process, Anton Weiss injures his leg with the piece of metal he used to break the locks. Realising that they need medical help, the three call for the help of the American doctor from the main base camp at the South Pole. Dr John Fury (Doc played by Tom Skerritt) needs the assistance of a pilot to get to the site; and here enters Alex as Russell Haden, as part of the story.
We are not sure what type of negotiation happened between all the parties involved, but it looks like the six canisters with the diamonds travelled with the injured Anton, Doc and Russell to base camp. On the way there, some sort of incident happened and Anton was killed with an axe and thrown from the plane. Thereby leaving the ‘good’ doctor and the pilot, Russell, with the loot. One of them then contacted an arms dealer, who happens to be on the Secret Agencies‘ watch list. The Agency then decide to send agent Robert Pryce ( Gabriel Macht ) to the South Pole, to investigate the matter (they do not know what the canisters contain, but suspect it to be nuclear-related, because of the time frame and activities of the Russians back then. 😯).
Meanwhile at the base camp, another pilot notifies the command (Sam) that he saw some sort of object, looking like a body on the ice. Sam, in return, asked US Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) to investigate the matter. The young pilot Delfy (Columbus Short), fly her and the doctor to the site and there they find the mutilated body of Anton Weiss. Of course the doctor, who knew exactly what really had happened, just plays along and offers some theories as to how the body got there, knowing full well that it was his own work. (you can hear his frustration in the number of damn’s he utters at the site) On their return back at the base, they push the uncovered body past the staff, who were having their farewell party. You can see the looks that Doc and Haden exchange, as they pass one another in the hall, of course knowing that their secret might be discovered now.
On examining the badly crushed body together with Doc, Carrie discovers that there was a freshly stitched-up wound on Anton’s leg and another wound on his chest, presumably from an axe that killed him. Doc offers her an escape from the investigation by saying they could leave it to the authorities back home to figure out, as they were all heading out in a few days anyway. He obviously did not want her involved or for her to discover his own part in it all!
While looking into Anton’s background, Carrie receives a call from Mooney (one of his two co-workers), who asks her to come to Vostok, the Russian base camp close to their geology camp, to see for herself what happened. Of course she needs a pilot to get there, and on entering the flight command room asking for one, she passes Russell who hears her request for a pilot to fly her to Vostok. Things also get more urgent, as the first winter storm excels its pace towards them and the departure for personnel is pushed forward to happen the next day.
Carrie and Delfy fly to Vostok. After looking through the whole deserted camp, she gets to the last building where she follows the music and finds Mooney dying, with his throat slit. As soon as her attention was drawn to him, his attacker (Russell) launched himself at her. She gets away, but was not able to get her gloves on before a chase through the snowstorm. She manages to get to the next building where Delfy is, but severely ‘burns’ two of the fingers on her bare left hand in the cold door.
After securing the door she passes out and there Delfy finds her and takes care of her until she regained consciousness. Together they go back to the building where she found the dying Mooney earlier. This time they were surprised by Pryce, already being there. From the start, the storytellers try to portray his character as a suspect, with Carrie not trusting him at all.
Carrie does not really have a choice other than to work with Pryce and the three of them fly to the geologist camp to find further information. On seeing the dynamite, they decide that whatever was found, must have been at the last location of their explorations. They drive there and while inspecting the ground, Carrie falls down a shaft that leads them into the plane. Inside they discover all the evidence of the shootout 60 years ago as well as the empty box that used to carry the diamonds.
They see a lot of fresh blood and realise that this must have been the place where Anton’s leg got injured. To add to the drama, the snow caves in on them and they have to come up with a plan to blast themselves out of there using an old hatch with explosive bolts, on the roof of the plane. Carrie by now figured out that somebody treated Anton, but then also threw him from the plane when he was transported – from there the mutilated body that they found at such an odd location.
Back at camp, Carrie discovers that the whole facility will be evacuated because of the threat of the killer still roaming free, already having killed two people and nearly killing Carrie herself as well. She also eventually has time to visit Doc to take a look at her injured fingers. Unfortunately, it is bad news and he had to amputate two of her fingers immediately to avoid further damage.
Everybody is still looking for the last surviving member of the geology team, Michael Rubin, thinking he might be the prime suspect. Carrie finds him in her office and he tells her the whole story. When Michael says “We knew he could not be trusted”, Doc enters the room before Michael could tell Carrie who the ‘he’ was that he referred to. Michael runs away, because not known to Carrie was the fact that Doc was part of it all and him being there took away Michael’s trust in her. While Michael locks Carrie in, she has to watch how he gets attacked with an axe from behind. He and the attacker takes the fight outside and Carrie breaks free and arrives just too late to save Michael from having his neck broken. She overpowers the murderer and for the first time, we as viewers discover that it is actually Russell.
They interrogate Russell and after threatening to amputate his fingers, he tells them that the canisters are in his gear. They tie him up and lock him in an office while they have 15 minutes to search for the loot, before the big plane to evacuate the camp, leaves .
Doc must have helped Russell to escape and in the flight command room, Delfy ran into him, as he was about to get the keys for his plane. He wounds Delfy and when Carrie discovers the wounded man, she is again not sure who to trust anymore. She calls Doc to attend to Delfy and tells Sam that they won’t make it to the departing plane on time. They soon discover the missing keys from Russell’s plane and chase after him. He realises that he won’t make it out before they or the storm get to him. They see him running back to the building and realise that he could lock them out if he gets there first!
A brutal fight in the storm takes place and Carrie manages to grab the bag with canisters, but Russell loses his grip on the safety ropes and without an anchor rope, ends up being taken by the strong winds of the whiteout snowstorm, into the land of nowhere, where the chances of survival are zero and you die within minutes.
Back inside Carrie and Pryce open up the canisters to discover what is inside it, that turned so many people into murders. But they only discover that it is filled with jelly beans. Carrie realises for the first time that Russell must have had an accomplice that might have gotten away with the rest of the people on the plane. She notifies Sam and he lets the plane’s cargo and everybody inside be searched when they land, but with no result of discovery. Carrie asks for the inventory of things that were supposed to be on the plane, and find that the three dead bodies were left behind and were never loaded.
Inside the chest cavity of Anton Weiss, Carrie finds the root of all the evil – the diamonds that have ‘killed’ so many people already! Realising that she was again fooled by a friend and colleague – Doc!
Doc tries to explain his actions. Without trying to stop him, Carrie, lets him walk off into the snowstorm to a certain death……..
My thoughts on the movie:
- Having spent so much time filming naked men running through the snow, they really used it rather poorly. I would have done the main shots of the run from behind and much closer – nice looking male asses, are a much bigger turn-on and more interesting, than the images of some naked men running far off in a distance, shot from the front. 😛
- Having so many great and nice-looking male actors (hunks) in the movie, they really did not utilise all their attributes fully. 😀
- The movie lacked humour – for me, even the darkest movie needs a touch of humour to make it interesting. 😦
- The movie lacked passion – and I do not mean a love scene (although that might have been nice as well, but maybe it would be without real motivation 😀 ), but passion for the main characters, that inspire the viewer more to root for them. Not even the background story of her old partners’ betrayal and her reason for being at the post in Antarctica, really connects you with Carrie as a person. And also at the end, Carrie did not show the slightest signs of being human, while the friend that betrayed her walked off into a certain death!
- Only dumbasses start gunfights in a plane. 😀
- Is there a price tag on the amount of greed that would turn a good person bad, even to the point of becoming a murderer? Or did they always have a dark side, that was just fed when opportunity knocked?
- How far will one person let a bad decision run, even to the point of hurting and killing a friend, before they will walk away from it?
- We never really know anything about Russell’s background and whether he had any criminal past. I would rather think that anybody sent to such a remote location, will be thoroughly checked for any past criminal activity. My opinion therefore on it is, that he was just as Doc, a general good person caught up in greed?! 😦