Wash Westmoreland’s Tokyo-based thriller, Earthquake Bird, has all the right ingredients, but lacks the elements required to make for anything other than a bland, forgettable and by-the-numbers thriller that offers little surprises.
Set in 1989, Alicia Vikander plays Lucy, a young female expat living in Tokyo, arrested for murder, and caught up in a love triangle with her friend Lily and boyfriend Teiji.
Vikander is an extremely talented performer who does her very best to bring some life into the material she’s given. The film is relatively nicely shot, and the score from Atticus Ross and Leopold Ross is quite memorable, but none of these positives can hide what is a highly formulaic plot, told in an uninspired fashion.
The film’s themes offer the potential for an interesting study into the mindset of a self-centred character who thinks the whole world revolves around them; instead, we are offered a seen-it-before mystery tale, told with no real ambition or gusto.
Westmoreland has wasted his themes and a very talented cast (which also includes a top-notch Riley Keough and Naoki Kobayashi) on a story with absolutely no narrative drive; a story that lacks any of the necessary elements to make a film such as this work, such as any real tension, concern, surprise or energy.
Earthquake Bird feels almost like a factory-made thriller, that feels every bit as uninspired and dull as Westmoreland’s last picture, Colette. It’s a film that relies on its slight sense of style to reel you in, while offering none of the ingredients to make it worth it. It’s far from the worst film of the year, but it’s one you’ll forget the next day.
Earthquake Bird: A young female expat is suspected of murder after her friend goes missing in the wake of a tumultuous love triangle with a handsome local photographer.
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