“What are you looking for?” he asks.
“Nothing,” I say.
“Well,” he says, “you found it”.
(from the book White Bird in a Blizzard by Laura Kasischke)
Kat (Shailene Woodley) lives in a house with her perfect homemaker mom Eve (Eva Green) and loveing father, Brock (Christopher Meloni). From an outsider point of view they looked like a perfect picture. But that is not the case. One day, when Kat was 17, Eve suddenly disappeared and no one knows where she went.
A coming of age thriller that brought Araki’s Mysterious Skin to mind. A tale of a child growing up in an emotionally repressed environment (perhaps traumatising, even). The focus this time though was Kat relationship with his mother, the strained, love-lost, mother-daughter bond. It’s an interesting character study for both of them. Green, clearly is the star among the two, creates a portrait of a psychotic break down. Despite her appearing only intermittently throughout the film, but its hard to forget that coarse rasp of her (slightly theatrical, yet it works) voice and the erratic transition of her behavior. While Woodley who carries the story through series of narration that brings current and past events together, portrays the lonely Kat who still yearns for her mother’s love through denial and sexual rebellion, while desperately clinging to her own immaturity or perhaps naivete. I was drawn to these two characters because i was so fascinated by the way the two behave seemingly against each other, when beneath it all i felt the two couldn’t be more alike.
A reminiscence of American Beauty, in a way that it exposes the dark corners beneath the ideal, picture-perfect american family. But lacking the depth it needs. Perhaps the biggest problem i had is with the pacing of the film itself, that it slow-burned its way throughout 2/3 of the film yet speed crashing to its conclusion in the final 30 minutes. Its a bit unsatisfying for me, unlike the reveal of the finale of Mysterious Skin, which i hoped this film would become. Araki also took a creative license by giving it a slightly different conclusion than the book (hey another YA page-to-screen adaptation which starred Shailene Woodley!). Which i love/hate since it made the tone of the film sort of changed instantaneously to a slightly surreal and ominously bizarre like KaBoom was.
White Bird in a Blizzard felt like a more controlled, grown-up version of Araki. It possess the same dreamlike quality yet absurd realism that fans of his film should be familiar his signature. I was uncomfortable, intrigued, mesmerized with it despite its many flaws. Watch it if you’re a fan of Araki (and won’t mind his quirks), if you’re a fan of Eva Green and Shailene Woodley, or if you just want to see Woodley’s breasts.
White Bird in a Blizzard available now on iTunes and On Demand. It will have limited release on October 27.
WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD (2014)
DIRECTOR Gregg Araki | PRODUCER Gregg Araki, Pascal Caucheteux, Sebastian Lemercier | WRITER Gregg Araki | CINEMATOGRAPHER Sandra Valde-Hansen | EDITOR Gregg Araki | STUDIO Why Not Productions, Desperate Pictures, Wild Bunch, Orange Studio | COUNTRY United States | RUNNING TIME 91 minutes | RATING R for sexual content/nudity, language and some drug use | RELEASE January 20, 2014 (Sundance)
STARRING Shailene Woodley, Eve Green, Christopher Meloni, Jacob Artist, Gaborey Sidibe, Angela Bassett, Shiloh Fernandez, Mark Indelicato
DID YOU KNOW? This is Shailene Woodley first nude scene in films, the actress said that she wants her sex scenes to be authentic.