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Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Whiteout Movie Poster Image
South Pole-set whodunnit is bloody but bland.
  • R
  • 2009
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The lead character's trust issues raise the concept of whether being an authority figure is enough reason to inspire trust in others (the answer seems to be "no" -- "sometimes, a badge is just a badge," the main character notes while relating a tale of earlier betrayal by a fellow officer).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character Carrie is a fairly standard-issue, stalwart law officer -- resolute, tough, dogged, and determined -- who's as comforting as she is cliched.


Extensive grisly violence, including beatings, shootings, bludgeoning, stabbings, and more. Cut throats gush blood; a body falls from a great height. A neck is broken bare-handed; an ice axe is used as a weapon; a head is slammed into a mirror. Fingers are amputated on-screen after frostbite damages them beyond repair. Close-up images of surgical procedures (including autopsies) and forensic investigations.


Brief male nudity in a group of streakers; glimpses of pornography; lingering shots of the main female character getting ready for the shower.


Frequent strong language throughout, including "f--k," "s--t," "hell," "bitch," "damn," "oh my God," "goddamn," and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink hard liquor; references  to an unseen marijuana plant.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this wintry murder mystery based on a graphic novel involves grisly violence, including autopsy sequences, blood-spurting wounds, and more. There's also some adult material related to sexuality and drinking, but it's glossed over fairly swiftly in favor of murder and mayhem. Expect a good bit of strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t")

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 and 15 year old Written bydolphin11 February 20, 2010
i thought it was a very boring movie. not much action. a real sleeper!
Adult Written by2Simple October 30, 2010
Why was this only given 2 stars?? It was really good!! Very scary!
Kid, 10 years old November 1, 2009
Teen, 14 years old Written byMikaylaaMadisonn October 8, 2009
Love it! :D

What's the story?

Based at the South Pole research station, U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is the only law enforcement for hundreds of miles. She's dealing with minor concerns and trying to withstand the isolation before she's rotated out in a few days' time -- but when a dead body is found on the Antarctic ice, she has to try and track down a killer in the remotest place on Earth.

Is it any good?

Based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka, WHITEOUT has a unique setting in the frozen, deadly remote wastes of Antarctica, but that's not enough to make up for an entirely familiar plot. Even after her box office success with the Underworld films, Beckinsale makes an unlikely action heroine; she seems far too hesitant and hurt to be a real-world law enforcement official.

The other actors -- Tom Skerritt as a friendly base doctor, Gabriel Macht as a U.N. troubleshooter who may be trouble -- don't fare much better. And director Dominic Sena never gets above a  made-for-TV-level, even with the expensive CGI snowscapes and sudden squalls that he throws around in the finale. Whiteout may take place in the most isolated place on Earth, but it feels curiously distant from itself, as slick as ice and about as cold. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is it less upsetting than what's typically shown in a "horror" movie? What makes this a "thriller" instead?

  • Is Carrie a positive female role model? How does she compare to other female law officers in movies and TV shows?

  • What drives people to explore the South Pole? What scientific work goeson there? What happens to people living under those conditions ofisolation and harsh weather?

Movie details

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