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Year: 2005
USA: Ascendant Pictures
UK: Momentum Pictures
Cast: Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Woody Harrelson, Giovanni Ribisi, Alison Lohman, Tim Blake Nelson, W Earl Brown, Marina Stephenson Kerr, Billy Merasty, Ralph J Alderman, Frank Adamson, Ryan Miranda, Craig March, Ty Wood, Frank C Turner, Brenda McDonald, Deena Fontaine, Joanne Rodriguez, Eric Epstein, Harry Nelken, Jeff Skinner, Stephen Eric McIntyre
Director: Mark Mylod
Countries: USA / Canada / New Zealand
USA: 100 mins
UK: 105 mins
USA Rated: R for language including sexual references and some violence
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and violence
USA Release Date: 16 December 2005 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 24 March 2006
US Distributor
UK Distributor


Alaska, home of the moose, of baked desserts and home to Paul Barnell (Robin Williams), a down on his luck, mild mannered travel agent. In heavy debt and with a foul-mouthed wife, Margaret (Holly Hunter), suffering from Tourette's syndrome, Paul hopes to solve his problems with the help of his missing brother, Raymond (Woody Harrelson).

In an effort to pay off his debtors and get some medical help for his wife, Paul tries to cash in on his missing brother's life insurance policy of $1 million. However, he comes face to face with Ted Watters (Giovanni Ribisi), a tough young insurance investigator. Ted denies Paul's request as Raymond has only been missing for five years, not long enough to pronounce him deceased. So when he accidentally stumbles across a corpse in the dumpster behind his shop his immediate horror is soon over taken by a crazy idea. Why not pretend the corpse is his brother? He could then claim the policy and solve all his problems.

Ted, meanwhile, desperately wants out of Alaska and is pitching for a promotion so he can move to sunnier climates with his girlfriend Tiffany (Alison Lohman), who runs a psychic hot line. All Ted needs to escape his situation is to uncover one big corrupt claim, which is a lot easier said than done.

Paul soon begins his elaborate ruse to fake his brother's death by having the fresh corpse attacked by Alaska's carnivorous wildlife. Everything seems to go according to plan, but there are some things you just can't plan for. When the body is found mutilated, it doesn't take long for the insurance claim to arrive on Ted's desk. However remembering Paul's previous request, Ted smells a rat and hopes that if he exposes him he can get his promotion and get out of town - he starts to investigate.

Unfortunately threats come in many guises and the next one to reach Paul's door is Gary (Tim Blake Nelson) and Jimbo (W Earl Brown), the actual murderers, who are searching for their missing corpse. Desperate to find the body, which they need as proof of a successfully completed hit, the trail leads them straight to Paul. In order to get the body back, and also a cut of the insurance money, they take the profane Margaret hostage, until Paul can come up with the goods.

Distraught, Paul doesn't know what to do. Ted is on his case, the body is already buried and then, as if things are not bad enough, Raymond, his long lost brother turns up, after reading a report of his death. Raymond agrees to play along with Paul's scheme in exchange for a cut of the money, which he thinks is only $100,000. But when Paul discovers that Raymond not only plans to take all the money, but to also kill his wife, he is forced to take the moose by its antlers!

Ted is increasingly obsessed with the case, neglecting his job and his girlfriend whilst desperately trying to get his hands on evidence of Paul's actions. Ted's efforts seem to dramatically backfire when his case is discredited losing him his promotion and Paul is finally awarded his insurance money. A furious Ted threatens Paul, but Paul has far bigger problems, his evil brother and Margaret's survival.

Paul's optimistic scheme is to give the corpse back to the killers and then run off with his wife to South America without his brother even noticing. The exchange is set up, the body exhumed and the money put somewhere safe, but Paul's escape is suddenly and rudely interrupted. Under the snow covered landscape Ted arrives, still determined to catch his guy, closely followed by Raymond wanting his cut of the money. As all parties collide Paul can only hope that he and his wife will make it out alive.

So grab your ski boots and a warm hat as THE BIG WHITE takes you on an adventure involving money, murder and mayhem in this dead funny black comedy set in the big white outdoors.

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