Uber Cool Eighties Mystery

White Bird in a Blizzard

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Director: Gregg Araki

Cast: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Shiloh Fernandez, Thomas Jane, Angela Bassett, Christopher Meloni, Gabourey Sidibe, Dale Dickey

The Descendants star Shailene Woodley gives an impressive performance as a sexually charged teenage girl, Kat Connors who discovers her blossoming confidence just as her gorgeous yet unstable mother, Eve, wonderfully played by French actress Eva Green, (The Dreamers, Casino Royale) mysteriously disappears.

Mysterious Skin director Gregg Araki’s startling yet uber cool Eighties drama White Bird in a Blizzard is a bit like Whatever happened to Baby Jane? with a massive twist at the end. So audiences should expect the unexpected.

Assembling a rock star cast including Christopher Meloni as the clueless father, the sumptuous Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood) as the sexy boy next door, Phil, Gabourey Sidibe star of Precious as Kat Conner’s best friend Beth along with Angela Bassett and Thomas Jane as the grizzled yet carefree police detective. Watch out for a cameo by Sheryl Lee star of the hit TV series Twin Peaks.

White Bird in a Blizzard as seen at the 36th Durban International Film Festival DIFF subverts everything seemingly domestic about the average American life and turns a seemingly mysterious occurrence in suburban California into something far more sinister and ripe with Freudian references.

On every level, this is a bizarre yet highly amusing film, superbly cast with excellent performances by Woodley and Green as they embark on a tortuous mother-daughter relationship which ignores what is primarily occurring under their noses, undermining their own vanities and exploring hidden agendas from all involved. Eva Green is fabulous as the hip mother who receives little attention from her absent-minded husband while envying the sexual exploits of her beautiful teenage daughter, brilliantly played by Shailene Woodley, who proves she is an actress to watch.

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Woodley’s distinct ability to hold her own throughout such a bizarre film is testament to her ever expanding talent which is sure to flourish in years to come. Araki’s frames each shot in the film with an ironic pathos assisted by a nostalgic and cool Eighties soundtrack which includes Depeche Mode.

Everything about White Bird in a Blizzard is wrong in a seriously dysfunctional way. This is a highly entertaining family drama about one young girls’ slow realization that those people surrounding her are certainly not what they claim to be.

Araki’s film is perverse, fabulous and definitely recommended viewing for those audiences which like their narratives as twisted as the intricacies of the most complex of human relationships.

White Bird in a Blizzard is like a Patricia Highsmith novel on acid with a retro Eighties soundtrack. 

 

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