In UK cinemas November 2019
Director Wash Westmoreland
Cast Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough, Naoki Kobayashi
As if through a kaleidoscopic lens, Earthquake Bird pieces together what happened to Lily Bridges (Riley Keough) who went missing in Japan in 1989. Her reluctant friend and chaperone Lucy Fay (Alicia Vikander), is taken in for questioning by the Tokyo police and it is through Lucy’s eyes that the fragmented truth unfolds.
Petite, perfect Lucy is working as a translator when she comes across the handsome, enigmatic Teiji (Naoki Kobayashi) photographing puddles in Tokyo. The two become entangled in a disturbing relationship which soon encompasses Lily. Teiji’s seemingly sensitive aloofness belies disquieting passions. And there’s a shocking reason why Lucy left her home country, Sweden, which comes to light.
Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice, Colette), makes the most of Japan, both urban and rural, as a setting, bringing out its natural beauty and beguiling designs and architecture. The meaning of “Earthquake Bird” comes from Teiji’s observation that birds still sing after a catastrophe, which is what befalls them all. Adapted from prizewinning 2001 mystery novel by the British author Susanna Jones, Earthquake Bird suffers a little from the excesses of a psycho-thriller, when disbelief sets in, but seductive directing and an intriguing cast make up for that.
(First Reviewed London Film Festival October 2019)