Culture Magazine

The Big White (2005)

By Manofyesterday

Director: Mark Mylod

Stars: Robin Williams, Giovanni Ribisi, Holly Hunter, Woody Harrelson 

Paul Barnell (Williams) cares for his wife, Margaret (Hunter) who has Tourettes Syndrome, however, his business isn’t doing too well and medical costs are high so he tries to cash in on his brother Raymonds’ (Harrelson) life insurance policy, because he’s been missing for five years. But a person needs to be missing for seven years to be legally declared dead, a fact which the smug Ted (Ribisi) is all too happy to tell, because it means the insurance company won’t have to pay out a million dollars. Then, Paul discovers a dead body, and he concocts a scheme to use the body to get his brother’s life insurance. 

The Big White is a darkly amusing film and I liked the way the different parts of the story came together. There are some laugh out loud moments and I think it’s best when Williams and Ribisi are sharing the screen. However, Holly Hunter has the brightest spots of the movie and apparently she did a lot of research to make sure her portrayal was accurate. 

This is a very dark comedy so it’s not all out and out laughter and there are some grisly things, and a lot of violence as well. I didn’t mind this but some people might, especially because there’s lots of shots of a dead body, and some people are freaked out by that. It’s fairly watchable although it picks up in the last third and the climax was fitting; the film didn’t just whimper out. The main tension comes from Paul not thinking things through properly, but I liked his little battle with the insurance company. 

It’s a decent little film, not one that I’d recommend you go watch right away but it’s okay to watch.

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