Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Cannes Review: Todd Haynes' 'Carol' Starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara Cannes Review: Todd Haynes' 'Carol' Starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara Cannes Review: Gus Van Sant's 'The Sea Of Trees' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe & Naomi Watts Cannes Review: Gus Van Sant's 'The Sea Of Trees' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe & Naomi Watts Cannes Review: Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone And Parker Posey Cannes Review: Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone And Parker Posey Simon Pegg Reveals Daniel Craig's Role In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Simon Pegg Reveals Daniel Craig's Role In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Cannes Review: Yorgos Lanthimos' Outstanding 'The Lobster' Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz & John C Reilly Cannes Review: Yorgos Lanthimos' Outstanding 'The Lobster' Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz & John C Reilly Watch: Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard In The Intense First Clip For ‘Macbeth’ Watch: Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard In The Intense First Clip For ‘Macbeth’ George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Sundance Review: Gregg Araki’s 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Starring Shailene Woodley, Eva Green & More

The Playlist By Chase Whale | The Playlist January 25, 2014 at 3:24PM

By now, devoted cinephiles likely know what to expect going into a Gregg Araki movie: sex-crazed teens, an overabundance of nudity (sometimes pretty, sometimes not), a dream-like story wrapped snugly in a nightmare and a killer soundtrack. However, it would be lazy for someone to call it trash cinema—there’s a lot of feeling in his films (please watch "Mysterious Skin" now). Araki is a brilliant director who finds a great deal of meaning in stories of teenage angst and sexual desire, and is perhaps the finest example of coming-of-rage cinema. His latest film, "White Bird in a Blizzard," is his most grownup film to date, but never deviates far from his comfort zone.
9
White Bird In A Blizzard

By now, devoted cinephiles likely know what to expect going into a Gregg Araki movie: sex-crazed teens, an overabundance of nudity (sometimes pretty, sometimes not), a dream-like story wrapped snugly in a nightmare and a killer soundtrack. However, it would be lazy for someone to call it trash cinema—there’s a lot of feeling in his films (please watch "Mysterious Skin" now). Araki is a brilliant director who finds a great deal of meaning in stories of teenage angst and sexual desire, and is perhaps the finest example of coming-of-rage cinema. His latest film, "White Bird in a Blizzard," is his most grownup film to date, but never deviates far from his comfort zone.

White Bird In A Blizzard

Set in the late ‘80s, "White Bird in a Blizzard" revolves around Kat Connor (Shailene Woodley) and her incredibly dysfunctional family who are living crappily ever after. Her dad Brock (Christopher Meloni) is a pushover, and her mom Eve (Eva Green) is an alcoholic who hates her family, her life, and just wants to live like she’s 17 again—well on the depressing side of immaturity. Things get weird when Eve disappears without a trace, sending the family into a downward spiral of lies, hatred and promiscuous sex.

Because it must be said—Eva Green isn’t exactly the star of 'White Bird,' but she gives one hell of a performance. With the small running time she’s in, she doesn’t just chew up the scenery, she devours it whole (including every actor that shares space with her). Her vicious maw is as staggering as her talent threatens to overshadow everyone who dares to come across her path. But the film’s standout performance may in fact be Woodley's, which may confuse her younger fans, but please Hollywood. If her work in the film doesn’t scream “I’m an adult, hear me roar!” then nothing does. Her character has the filthiest mouth of the bunch, spends a great deal of the film nude and, at one point, has plenty of dirty sex with her boyfriend (hilariously played by Shiloh Fernandez, who needs more roles like this) and blissfully describes co-star Thomas Jane's lower anatomy to her teen pals (Gabourey Sidibe and Mark Indelicato). You will never look at Woodley the same way again, she’s all grown up and not a little 'Descendant' anymore, folks.

White Bird In A Blizzard

If you’re keeping score, mentioned in the first paragraph is Araki’s always-excellent use and carefully curated selection of pop music and this trend continues. Since “White Bird” is set in the late ‘80s, Joy Division, The Cure, and all of your favorite synth-pop bands are prominently featured, their instantly recognizable sounds oozing throughout the film. One massive thing to appreciate about Araki’s films is how the music he chooses works perfectly in sync with his imagery, providing a heady and intoxicating viewing experience.

‘White Bird’ is based on the book of the same name by Laura Kasischke, adapted by Araki. The film follows the same story as the novel (albeit with a divergent ending), but what’s so fantastic about ‘White Bird’ is the obvious homage to David Lynch’s "Twin Peaks" throughout. The entire mood of the film doesn’t feel quite real—like it’s one long, ominous dream, with no obvious sign that the audience will wake up anytime soon. To top it all off, the mysterious doyenne of "Twin Peaks," Laura Palmer herself (Sheryl Lee) has a small role in the film, which has to be Araki winking at the audience. All in all, “White Bird in a Blizzard” is worth seeing for Eva Green’s performance alone, and to experience the dreamlike quality of Gregg Araki’s individual, highly unique vision of cinema. [B]

Browse through all our coverage of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival by clicking here. 

This article is related to: White Bird in a Blizzard, Shailene Woodley, Gregg Araki, Sundance Film Festival, Christopher Meloni, Shiloh Fernandez, Eva Green, Gabourey Sidibe, Thomas Jane, Reviews, Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates