What Is Earthquake Bird Even About?

Alicia Vikander’s first major film since Tomb Raider is a noir-ish tale of obsession.

Murray Close/Netflix

Netflix has released another psychological thriller with the word “bird” in the title: Earthquake Bird, a noir-ish take on the classic tales of obsession, betrayal, and a missing girl.

No, it has nothing to do with Bird Box, the streaming platform’s accidentally viral horror film starring Sandra Bullock that was released last year. But it does have the potential to be a big hit, just based on the cast, director, and producer alone.

For those wondering where Alicia Vikander has been ever since making her debut as the iconic action-hero Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider series in 2018, there is finally an answer. In Earthquake Bird, the Oscar-winner stars as an American expat living in Tokyo named Lucy who falls in love with a photographer named Teiji in 1989. Eventually, she meets Lily, another American expat played by Riley Keough, the two hit it off, and one day Lily vanishes. The trailer begins with detectives questioning Lucy about her whereabouts the day of Lily’s disappearance. As a chief suspect in Lily’s disappearance, she might not be a protagonist viewers can trust for the duration of the film.

And it seems that another Internet Boyfriend may be afoot with Naoki Kobayashi, a dancer-actor-model triple threat, who plays the photographer and Lucy’s paramour. Kobayashi is one of Yohji Yahmamoto’s favorite models, has walked the runway for the label in Paris a handful of times, and even apeared at the Met Gala for the first time in 2019. He’s been acting since 2007 and performed with two J-Pop groups (Exile and Sandaime J Soul Brothers), but his appearance in Earthquake Bird will mark his introduction to American audiences.

Director Wash Westmoreland—who also co-wrote and co-directed Still Alice with his late husband Richard Glatzer, and directed Colette, the biopic about the turn-of-the-century French author starring Keira Knightley (which was also based on a script he wrote with Glatzer)—used a 2001 novel by Susanna Jones called The Earthquake Bird as the source material for the film, which Ridley Scott produced.

Following in the footsteps of many of the new prestige films to be released by Netflix this year, Earthquake Bird will hit theaters first with a limited run that begins on November 1, before becoming available to stream on November 15.

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