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The Big White (2005)

Director:
Mark Mylod
COUNTRY
Germany/Canada/
New Zealand/USA
GENRE
Comedy/Drama
NORWEGIAN TITLE
The Big White
RUNNING TIME
100 minutes
Producer:
Christopher Eberts
David Faigenblum
Chris Roberts
Screenwriter:
Collin Friesen


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Paul Barnell Robin Williams
Margaret Barnell Holly Hunter
Ted Giovani Ribisi
Gary Tim Blake Nelson
Jimbo W. Earl Brown
Raymond Barnell Woody Harrelson
Tiffany Allison Lohman

 

Review

Most people compare The Big White to Fargo, and although it might seem as a too obvious thing to do, there really isn't much reason not to. Because not only does the film bear a striking resemblance visually (for a Norwegian like myself, the scene presented in these films might be a little less eccentricly amusing than it was designed to be), but the plot is also very much modelled after the Coen semi-classic.

There are differences, however, and they can be quite easily summed up: The Big White lacks the flair and originality of its rolemodel. The latter is particularly evident (and annoying) when it comes to the characters who very rarely deploy anything outside the strictly one-dimensional. The exception is the wonderful Holly Hunter, who largely keeps this film watchable. Not that her character is free of banality (her condition is mainly used for simple comic relief), but Hunter at least brings joyfullness and delight to her character. She is funny, even when the script can't provide for her. That is something most of the other actors involved here can't manage - and one can't really blame them. Robin Williams' effort is commendable, but his character is ultimately uninteresting. Still worse is the case with Ribisi, Harrelson and Lohman. The first two sleepwalk through their typecast roles whereas Lohman tries hard without succeeding.

Things aren't all bad with The Big White. It has some nice touches and the crime plot is as engaging as anything mediocre. The trouble is that the film never is close to hitting a note that hasn't been played a hundred times before. To make a script like this work we'd need a much more imaginative director than Mark Mylod.

Copyright 3.4.2006 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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