Big White

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Woody Harrelson, Giovanni Ribisi
Director: Mark Mylod

THE BIG WHITE is one of those comedies that you either find funny or you will scratch your head waiting for the next punch line. One of the reasons that comedies are funny is that you can laugh at someone else’s misfortunes and that is exactly what you have here. This is essentially a series of events that develops because a character decided to go down a certain path and his exact motive is not obvious to those around him. It is going to be difficult not to compare THE BIG WHITE to a certain Coen Brothers movie and that is due in part to the wintry backdrop. So what, this is a comedy, let us forget about life for a while.

This FARGO-esque comedy stars Robin Williams, in a slightly more restrained role than usual, as the nearly bankrupted Alaskan travel agent Paul Barnell who comes up with a brilliant but morbid get rich scheme. He tries to cash in on his missing brother’s insurance policy but is told that he has to wait another two years before he can legally declare his brother, Raymond, dead. Seemingly stuck in a rut, opportunity presents itself to Paul in the form of a recently dumped dead body that he finds in the local dumpster.

In order to make things look legitimate, he pretends to be his brother just long enough for a few locals to spot him and convinces them later that they had seen Raymond who has just returned from Florida. The next part is to dump the body he discovered in the middle of nowhere for some wild animals to maul beyond recognition and hope that some hikers will eventually find the body. With some of Raymond’s I.D. left on the body to convince people that it was Raymond, what could possibly go wrong?

Well with an obsessive insurance investigator Ted (Giovanni Ribisi) on his trail, Paul’s mentally ill wife Margaret (played by the superb Holly Hunter) and two mob henchmen Gary and Jimbo (Tim Blake Nelson and W Earl Brown), who want their dead body back, the hilarious twist and turns will guarantee a few laugh out loud moments.

5 out of 6 stars