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The Big White

4.1 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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$6.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Outstanding performances are delivered by an all-star cast in this quirky black comedy centered on Paul Barnell (Robin Williams), a down on his luck Alaska travel agent who's on the brink of bankruptcy and whose beloved wife, Margaret (Holly Hunter), is on the brink of insanity. Special Features include: Behind the Scenes Featurette, and Photo Gallery.

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In The Big White, a failing Alaskan travel agent hopes he's found the answer to his problems when a couple of thugs leave a dead body in a dumpster outside his business. The lack of a body has prevented Paul Barnell (Robin Williams, The Birdcage, One Hour Photo) from claiming his missing brother's life insurance. Unfortunately, the thugs who dumped the body in the first place (Tim Blake Nelson, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and W. Earl Brown, Deadwood) want it back, so they kidnap Barnell's wife (Holly Hunter, Raising Arizona), who may or may not have Tourette's Syndrome. Meanwhile, an obsessive insurance agent (Giovanni Ribisi, Saving Private Ryan) smells something fishy and thinks he's found the case that will get him and his phone psychic girlfriend (Alison Lohman, White Oleander) transferred to warmer climes, and Barnell's long-missing brother (Woody Harrelson, White Men Can't Jump) returns, a bit perturbed to learn he's dead. The Big White suffers from an overload of quirkiness--phone psychics, Tourette's, and possibly gay hit men are a lot of whimsy for one movie--but the actors commit themselves to their roles with gusto. The movie misses the bullseye that Fargo hit, but fans of macabre comedy may enjoy The Big White. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • Behind the scenes featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Giovanni Ribisi, Woody Harrelson, Tim Blake Nelson
  • Directors: Mark Mylod
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FDEVA2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,376 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Big White" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The Big White is a bizarre and quirky thriller featuring a great cast and some fabulous location work. I'm surprised the movie never got a theatrical release it so richly deserved. The movie is fun all the way, although some viewers may find all the dark, murderous and often blood-soaked antics a bit over-the-top.

Robin Williams stars as Paul Barnell, an Alaskan travel agent who's nearing bankruptcy. Paul also has to contend with his wife Margaret, (Holly Hunter) who's suffering from a psychosomatic form of Tourette's syndrome. One night Paul stumbles upon an abandoned corpse in a dumpster he decides to pass it off as the dead body of his missing brother Raymond (Woody Harrelson), so he can collect the insurance money.

However, Paul hasn't reckoned on the attentions of ruthless insurance claims' investigator, Ted (Giovanni Ribisi) who is determined to eke out the truth about Paul's brother. Paul also has to contend with the two bumbling killers (Tim Blake Nelson and W. Earl Brown) show up and threaten to harm Margaret if they don't get their corpse back.

The Big White gets right to the nasty action early on when Paul tries to fit the corpse into a refrigerator. Soon the violence spreads to living victims, with beatings coming at one point or another too much of the cast.

Alison Lohman does a nice turn as a Ted's girlfriend but the most interesting character is Margaret, who bewilders an intruder with a barrage of unexpected projectiles and spews forth-vitriolic profanity at a moments notice.

The Big White is definitely worth watching for those who like their humor dark and irreverent, with money, blackmail, death, madness and lots of snow make up most of what you'll see.
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Format: DVD
Mark Mylod's largest film to date has been "Ali G Indahouse," a sporadically funny (but often silly) Sasha Baron Cohen character picture. For those now on a "Borat" high, you might want to catch up on another Cohen creation. Ali G can be an amusing hip-hop poser, but the film done as a conventional narrative lacks much of "Borat"'s imagination or ingenuity. So, several years later, it's impressive that he has aligned a cast of such magnitude as was assembled for the black comedy "The Big White." We've got Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Woody Harrelson, Tim Blake Nelson, Giovanni Ribisi, and Alison Lohman in a comedy of murder, kidnapping, insurance fraud, phone psychics, and mental illness. Set in a small Alaskan hamlet, many people would like to compare this film to "Fargo." While the film shares some of the same comic sensibilities and a similar wintry locale, it's kind of like comparing "Casablanca" to "Pretty Woman." Both films may have a certain appeal, but they are definitely in different leagues.

Williams plays a down-on-his-luck travel agent with financial difficulties and a wife with Tourette's (Hunter). Needing cash, he tries to collect on his missing brother's insurance policy. Ribisi, as the insurance investigator, informs him that his brother has not been missing long enough to be considered legally dead and there's nothing that can be done. In a coincidence, a couple of amateur hitmen dump a body in the dumpster outside Williams' agency. Williams, on discovering the corpse, masterminds a plot to get his brother declared dead. The hitmen, then, are ordered to retrieve the body (which is now missing) and all types of mayhem ensues.

I will say that "The Big White" has a lot going for it, and I can imagine some people really enjoying it.
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Format: DVD
I have been watching Robin Williams films back to back and this is my latest one. I was particularly curious about this one because in the interviews right before his death, he says that it was while making this film he went off the rails again. After twenty years of sobriety, when he arrived in Alaska to make this film, he started drinking Jack Daniels. He didn't stop until there was a family intervention and he ended up back in rehab and wife #2 divorced him. He was never quite well again and this was followed by heart surgery, other drinking relapses and towards the end Parkinson's. I have never seen Williams so sad as he was in playing this role. I know he was a terrific actor but this sadness almost seems like too much for the part. His sadness here borders on the heartbreaking.

In watching his films back to back, I have also been stunned to find how many of them involve a scene about suicide. In this one his wife threatens suicide and they have a discussion about suicide and about how much he loves her and doesn't want to lose her. His wife is played by Holly Hunter and she is nowhere near as sad as Williams in this film yet she is characterized as the suicidal one. Williams always improvised on the script a great deal and I am wondering if suicide scenes or discussion of suicide scenes weren't added by him to the screenplay. There are just way too many of these in film after film not to wonder who put them there.

So if you are considering watching this film for the outrageous, comic Williams, he is not here. He is a very subdued, quiet, at his wit's end character and it is everyone who is around him who is darkly madcap instead. These include Holly Hunter, Woody Harrelson, Tim Blake Nelson and Giovanni Ribisi, all of whom are top notch actors in fine form here.
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