Gorgeous beauty Kate Beckinsale (“The Aviator,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Serendipity”) consistently ranks near the top of any list of the sexiest women in the world. She headlines this effective mystery thriller that builds suspense and keeps you perched on the edge of your seat.
She plays U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko, who took the worst assignment on the planet to punish herself for a drug bust in Miami that went bad. Stetko’s two-year tour of duty in the close-knit community of the U.S. Research Facility at the South Pole has been uneventful and frustrating.
She has decided to turn in her badge and resign when she returns to the United States. Her bags are already packed for the last flight out before a big arctic storm ushers in six months of winter darkness.
The freezing conditions in Antarctica are not meant for man or beast. Stetko demonstrates early in the picture how many layers of clothing are underneath her parka when she strips down to her underwear before taking a hot shower.
The title refers to the horrific weather conditions with snow and 100 mph winds that render a person almost blind.
The pristine beauty of the most isolated land mass on earth is disrupted when the body of a geologist is found in a remote location. It turns out to be the first of several homicides that Stetko must investigate. She is in constant danger while trying to unravel the clues.
The key supporting characters include Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht from “The Good Shepherd”), a U.N. special investigator; Dr. John Fury (Tom Skerritt from “Picket Fences”), the chief medical examiner at the Amundsen-Scott base; Delfy (Kansas City native Columbus Short from “Cadillac Records”), a keen-eyed pilot; and Sam Murphy (Shawn Doyle), the dedicated station manager.
This movie keeps you guessing as to whodunit and the incentive behind the killings.
A violent snowstorm keeps viewers from really seeing the climactic final struggle. It is interesting that to get from one building to another outside, you have to hook into a guide rope similar to the ones used in mountain climbing to avoid being blown into oblivion. Everything is located by longitude and latitude coordinates.
The authentic sets have been masterfully constructed. The movie was shot on location in Winnipeg in minus 40 degree temperatures. The deafening sound of the wind and blowing snow makes you almost shiver from the cold while munching popcorn.
The movie opens with great special effects when a Russian cargo plane crash lands in the winter of 1957. There are also golden-hued flashbacks to Stetko’s prior post in Miami.
Director Dominic Sena (“Swordfish” and “Gone in Sixty Seconds”) makes a welcome return to the silver screen in this adaptation of the Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel written by Greg Rucka.
Beckinsale gives a standout performance as the smart and tough female protagonist. You root for her to prevail over the bad guys.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"