Earthquake Bird: LFF Film Review

I’ll watch anything starring Alicia Vikander so I felt positive about Earthquake Bird but I have to sadly report it’s the biggest disappointment for me this festival.

She stars as Lucy Fly, a Swedish woman living in Tokyo and working as a translator in 1989. She is taken in for questioning by the police about the disappearance of her American friend Lily Bridges (Riley Keogh) and through a series of flashbacks, we discover how they met and how they became caught in a love triangle with Lucy’s photographer boyfriend Teiji (Naoki Kobayashi).

Wash Westmoreland has made some excellent films of late – like Still Alice and Colette – so I felt confident Earthquake Bird would be equally good. But it’s not. The premise and initial ingredients are all there and it starts off well but I was expecting more to happen. It’s more of a slow burner than an exciting thriller. And the moments that should be thrilling are over and done with quickly. It felt like it was building towards something – Lucy seems to be losing her mind as Teiji and Lily get closer – but the climactic moment was such a letdown. At the end, I was like, ‘Is that it?’ I was expecting so much more from it and the ‘reveal’ wasn’t satisfying because I had already guessed it and we got no explanation. It didn’t feel like a resolution to me.

Vikander always has a captivating presence on film and that’s no different here. Her performance was good and the role was quite different for her as her character is very troubled by her past. Kobayashi was a total enigma and Keogh was her usual bubbly self.

I just wanted more from Earthquake Bird. I felt like it had so much more to give but then decided to restrain itself and not deliver on what it seemed like it was heading towards. What a shame.

Earthquake Bird had its world premiere at the 2019 London Film Festival. It will hit limited cinemas on 1 November before coming to Netflix on 15 November

Rating: 3/5

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