Monday, October 27, 2014

REVIEW: White Bird In A Blizzard

White Bird In A Blizzard

Shailene Woodley, Eva Green


October 24, 2014 (LIMITED)

Greg Araki

Magnolia Pictures

1 hour 31 minutes



As much as I love Shailene Woodley both physically and as an actress, it was inevitable that she would one day be in a film that is less than good.  That day, I am sad to report, has come with the release of her new indie mystery thriller, "White Bird in a Blizzard."  The film starts off in the late 80s when 17 year old Kat Connor's mother mysteriously disappears without a single trace of evidence as to what could have happened to her.  The film stays in this period for half of the film before jumping into the early 90s when Kat is in college and has let the whole situation with her mother simmer down.  If you weren't interested in that plot description at all, then I'm afraid that the movie wouldn't even do much for you despite the presence of an incredibly talented cast.

Shailene Woodley is fantastic here as Kat.  Imagine a character who is the direct opposite from Aimee Finicky, her character from "The Spectacular Now," and you just about have her character in this film.  Throughout the film, we see Kat exploring her sexuality and maturing as the mystery behind her mother's disappearance thickens.  Woodley just keeps proving film after film that she is going to win an Oscar most likely some day, and also that she is quickly becoming one of Hollywood's biggest sex symbols of the modern era.  If the rest of the cast was as good as she was here, then this film would have been a lot better in quality in my eyes.

Eva Green in this film is absolutely annoying, plain and simple.  It seems like, with every character and role she takes on, she's simply trying to say "I am hot, I am gorgeous, and guys swoon over me." when in reality she's just giving a hammy performance that is both uncomfortably over-the-top and ridiculous at the same time.  Her performance is so hammy, it would be too big for the entire family to finish in one sitting.  The yin to her yang is Christopher Meloni, who is basically a quiet, moody, and babyish guy who goes from that to something else entirely in a flash.  Angela Bassett, Shiloh Fernandez, and everyone else was fine, I guess, but that's just about it.  They didn't bring anything significantly stunning or interesting to their roles, thus making them just people who are merely there for the sake of filling up time and the cast list.

Greg Araki seems to know how to make a calculated and smart movie based on how he directed this flick.  Unfortunately, his predictable, annoying, and sometimes laughable adapted script didn't allow us as an audience, especially if we weren't familiar with him, to see that.  Hell, there's even a scene at the end of the film that shows a character laughing at how ridiculous a certain situation is.  To that character, I say "cheers," because that's almost exactly how I reacted when the film's final moments were presented.  "White Bird In A Blizzard" could have been a solid, if not great mystery thriller had the story been more balanced, the twists more unexpected, and the characters better written.  But alas, the film isn't any of that in the end, and the only thing that's remotely great in the film is Shailene Woodley's sexy and mature performance.  If you thought you were going to be getting a fascinating narrative with your 5 minutes of Ms. Woodley's naked physique gracing the screen, then boy are you going to be disappointed.

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