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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Whiteout

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Kate Beckinsale stars in a scene from the movie "Whiteout."
Logic is among the casualties in the Antarctic murder mystery "Whiteout" (Warner Bros.).
 
Director Dominic Sena's often grisly adaptation of Greg Rucka's 1998 graphic novel follows the exploits of federal marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale). Burdened by a troubled past—about which we learn only gradually by way of flashbacks—Carrie has been posted to the U.S. base at the bottom of the world at her own request, partly as an escape, partly as a self-imposed penance.
 
Her work among the researchers there—whose idea of off-duty fun includes hard drinking and brief jaunts outside in the altogether—is entirely routine until a ravaged corpse inexplicably turns up on the frozen wastes in a spot far removed from any of the multinational facilities. An examination by Carrie's colleague, friend and—so the dialogue seems to imply—former lover, Dr. John Fury (Tom Skerritt), points to murder.
 
After the killer claims more victims, Carrie is joined in the hunt by self-identified U.N. official Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht). But his sudden appearance on the scene—not long after the murderer, his identity obscured by winter clothes and goggles, has been terrorizing Carrie with an ice pick—makes her suspicious.
 
Carrie's perplexity about whom to trust, all the more acute because of the experience that drove her to the South Pole in the first place, maintains the dramatic tension, and a couple of snow-blinded confrontations with the resourceful perp are reasonably suspenseful. But the incompetent climactic plot twist, which leaves any number of questions unanswered, makes for a lackluster final impression.
 
The film contains frequent gory images, a brief streaking scene with full male nudity, partial female shower nudity, suicide, a few uses of profanity, and occasional rough and crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted; under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Junipero Serra: In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. 
<p>Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero’s desire was to convert native peoples in the New World. </p><p>Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero’s left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life. For 18 years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there. </p><p>Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two <i>conquistadors</i>—one military, one spiritual—began their quest. José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph’s day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived. </p><p>Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death. </p><p>Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans. </p><p>Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of “injustice” from some moderns. </p><p>Junipero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988.</p> American Catholic Blog God is great. God is good. And God, in his fatherly love, has a plan for our lives that will work out for our benefit and salvation. All we have to do is trust and obey.

Life's Great Questions

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
Blessed Junipero Serra
This Franciscan friar was instrumental in founding many of California’s mission churches.

Happy Birthday
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Sts. Peter and Paul
Honored both separately and together, these apostles were probably martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero.

Wedding
Help the bride and groom see their love as a mirror of God’s love.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help
God gave Mary to us as a help in our quest for holiness.




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