The Big White ***
I refuse to make it a habit to give reviews to DVD's, but if I didn't the very few people that read this will not be able to hear about "The Big White," a film that has a sad history. "The Big White" was released in one single theatre in Los Angeles in December of 2005 for exactly one week, and never anywhere else. Now, it comes out on DVD, and after watching it, I was confused as to why it was never shown anywhere else.
First of all, it has a cast to die for. Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Woody Harrelson, Giovanni Ribisi, Alison Lohman, and Tim Blake Nelson. Williams plays Paul Barnell, a down on his luck travel agent, whose wife is suffering from a form of Torette's Syndrome, and his business is closer to hitting chapter eleven then a fast paced detective novel. Not to mention that his brother Raymond has been unheard of for the last five years. So, in order to get a little money, Paul decides to take advantage of his brother's absence, by cashing in on his insurance policy. However, in Alaska, a person must be missing for seven years before being declared legally dead, and even then there is a period of investigation and search. So, Paul is screwed, and doesn't know what to do, until his luck picks up. Two hitman dump a frozen body into the dumpster in front of his office, which he decides to pass off as his brother. He leaves the body in the middle of the frozen tundra with steaks in his coat. A bear comes, takes the steaks, distorting the corpse's face until it could be anybody. An accidental death would come to a cool one million dollars, and Paul wants it. However, now the two hit men want the body back because their boss wants visual conformation that they killed the man, an insurance investigator smells something fishy with the whole business, and the real Raymond read about his death in the paper, and now wants to see whats going on.
"The Big White" will be ineveitably compared to "Fargo." Not only because of it's black comedy antics, but also because it takes place in the snow. It's not nearly as good as that masterpiece, but "The Big White" is entertaining. Williams is a great choice as Paul, and the love that him and his wife have for each other is quite sweet. The entire cast is well-done, but the love story between man and wife is very endearing. It's a good escape film, and my kind of story, to be honest. One other thing I must mention is the music by Mark Mothersbaugh, which is so beautiful and fitting that it can't go unsaid. "The Big White" should have been released, even in a limited run. It deserves to be seen, and there is no reason why it wasn't seen more. It's a shame that it'll probably end up on the cheap racks in DVD stores soon. See it, and try to spread the word. It's a very good modern noir.