‘Earthquake Bird’ review: Alicia Vikander towers in Netflix's accomplished, physhological thriller
An almost mystery-thriller turned into a psychological one, the movie explores deeper, darker corners of minds, which might be elusive to casual audience members
Let’s start from the start. At its core, ‘Earthquake Bird’ is a suspense thriller. But it’s not until halfway through that you realize what line of suspense the story is treading on. The title itself has a deeper meaning. While the movie defines it as "a bird that sings after earthquake," there are psychological as well as philosophical references to what it could imply.
If one has to see it laterally, an earthquake bird could probably indicate Lucy Fly’s (Alicia Vikander) awakening after the emotional turmoil she has been suffering from since her childhood. From the young age of eight, Lucy has been bullied and harassed, in myriad ways, causing a void in her mind that made her wish for the downfall of her perpetrators.
Though she never had been directly responsible for all the deaths in her life, she has been a catalyst to events that her subconscious deeply desired. She grows up to hold herself responsible for the deaths, which is most likely, as any psychology expert would agree, her conscious way of aligning herself to the worldly norms.
For most part of the movie, Lucy’s character sways between her consciousness and subconscious self, well justified through her imagination and projection of dark thoughts. From a psychological aspect, Lucy’s character is spot on.
Her recessive and demure nature, as beautifully portrayed by Alicia Vikander and her minds doing more talking than herself, brought out the true essence of her character. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, Naoki Kobayashi (Teiji) and Riley Keough (Lily Bridges) were almost overshadowed as Vikander steals all the attention.
Now let’s talk about the technical perfections that one would expect in an art-film like production. Whether it was because the movie was partly a Ridley Scott production, or it was Wash Westmoreland’s creativity, we weren’t surprised to find filmmaking aesthetics, which only an art film can offer.
From the unique camera angles to the perfect D-lighting techniques to give a noir feel to the cinematography, and not to mention, the setting, which is just about right to get you absorbed into the story, ‘Earthquake Bird’ is a quality product.
Almost until the plot takes a turn halfway through, one would expect Lucy to be the perpetrator. Her behavior, actions, demeanor, and even body language speak of a sociopath. But then the director takes you on a 360-degree turn and presents you with the most unimaginable twist. And that is exactly how a brilliant story is made; breaking expectations, and making you revisit your perception towards every character.
To sum it all up, ‘Earthquake Bird’ might not seem like an A-lister or a commercially outstanding movie, but it is undoubtedly a great work of art, packed with aesthetics and somberness, that would certainly resonate with a lover of artistic movies.