The Big White

December 3rd, 2005


The Big White

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To remedy his financial problems, a travel agent has his eye on a frozen corpse, which just happens to be sought after by two hitmen.

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 6.4/10 (8,110 voted)

Critic's Score: 31/100

Director: Mark Mylod

Stars: Robin Williams, Giovanni Ribisi, Holly Hunter

In the middle of Alaska, travel agent Paul Barnell is near bankruptcy. Desperate to help himself and his beloved, mentally-ill wife Margaret, Paul discovers a dead body and passes it off as his missing brother Raymond, whose life is insured for up to $1,000,000. Everybody is duped, except for workaholic insurance investigator Ted Waters, who sets out to expose Paul, in hopes of being promoted out of Alaska. Meanwhile, two rookie hit men, Gary and Jimbo, discover Paul took 'their' body and kidnap Margaret, demanding the body back. Then, Raymond turns up alive, wanting in on the action...

Robin Williams - Paul Barnell
Holly Hunter - Margaret Barnell
Giovanni Ribisi - Ted Waters
Tim Blake Nelson - Gary
W. Earl Brown - Jimbo
Woody Harrelson - Raymond Barnell
Alison Lohman - Tiffany
Billy Merasty - Cam (as William Merasty)
Marina Stephenson Kerr - Avis
Ralph Alderman - Mr. Branch
Frank Adamson - Detective
Andrea Shawcross - Hair Stylist
Ryan Miranda - Korean-am Teenager
Craig March - Howard
Ty Wood - Paperboy

Taglines: When you need somebody, any body will do.


Official Website: Ascendant Pictures | Official site [Germany] |

Release Date: 3 December 2005

Filming Locations: Alaska, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: €76,704 (Italy) (20 November 2005) (80 Screens)

Gross: €81,163 (Italy) (20 November 2005)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Canada:

Did You Know?

According to the director's audio commentary on the DVD, financiers wanted Meg Ryan to play Holly Hunter's role. She flirted with the idea for about a year, before eventually dropping it.

Revealing mistakes: When Paul Barnell discovers the body in the dumpster he says, "911" and proceeds to dial three digits and you hear ringing. The tones the buttons make on the cell phone as the digits are pressed are actually "123".

Paul Barnell: [Margaret is bound and gagged in back seat of Jimbo's car] Why did you gag her?
Jimbo: [exasperated] You know!

User Review


Rating: 8/10

The Big White focus on travel agent Paul Barnell (Robin Williams), and him trying to overcome his financial dilemmas. After failing to cash out the insurance policy of his brother, who is missing since 5 years and assumed dead, he stumbles across a frozen corpse. A new opportunity arises, but not without problems! While trying to get the corpse to pass of as his dead brother, Paul need to handle the two hit men (W. Earl Brown and Tim Blake Nelson) wanting their corpse back and keep one step ahead of insurance agent Ted (Giovanni Ribisi).One heck of a stew is cooking!

You can't avoid comparing The Big White with the Coen brothers' Fargo, since they're similar in style and story. Fargo, however, is better. But this film is far from bad, and it's not as black a comedy as the Coens-flick.

Acting and characters are wonderful. The script works perfectly. The pace is sometimes on the slow side, but not for long. The story is a mixture of love, comedy, drama, sadness and perhaps a wee bit of hatred. Good stuff for a movie in other words! You won't get disappointed by this film, unless you've got something against the similarities with Fargo. If you loved Fargo, you'll like this one. Perhaps even more. 8/10


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