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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: White Bird in a Blizzard

January 20th, 2015

White Bird in a Blizzard - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

I heard a lot of pre-release buzz for White Bird in a Blizzard, in part because it starred Shailene Woodley, who is rapidly becoming an A-list star. However, its reviews were mixed and it opened below the Mendoza Line. (Although the weak box office numbers are in part due to the film opening on Video on Demand.) Were the critics overly harsh? Or was the buzz overly generous?

The Movie

Shailene Woodley stars as Kat Connors, daughter of Eve and Brock Connors. The film begins in 1988 with Kat coming home to find her mother sleeping in Kat's bed. Then a week later, she comes home to find her dad already home and her mom gone. Her dad thinks something bad has happen to her mom, but Kat thinks there's nothing wrong, or at worse, she's finally left her father. She talks to her boyfriend, Phil, about it that night, but she's still not convinced there's anything serious happening. Her father decides to go to the police in the morning, if Eve doesn't show up again.

That night, Kat has a dream about her mom asleep in the snow. When she wakes up, we flashback to when Kat was younger and we hear Kat talk about Eve and her life before marriage and how she adapted to being a wife and mother. We continually go back to this part of Eve's life. The back and forth does make writing a coherent plot summary that doesn't give away details much harder to do. Sufficient it to say, Eve struggled as a wife and mother.

Back in 1988, Brock and Kat go to the police and Detective Theo Scieziesciez takes the case. Kat becomes intrigued by Detective Scieziesciez, as he's different to her father or Phil. She sees him as more manly. She eventually begins to seduce him. However, there are still questions as to what really happened to Eve.

White Bird in a Blizzard has really bad dialogue. It has really bad dialogue, overly melodramatic moments, dull characters, and a weak mystery. That's a lot of negatives. On the other hand, it has two really good performances from Eva Green and Shailene Woodley. Eva Green's performance has a lot of energy, some might go so far as to call it campy, but at least she demands your attention, unlike most of the rest of the movie. Shailene Woodley again proves she can elevate any material she is given, but unfortunately, even she couldn't get me to care about the overall plot. In fact, while watching this movie, I never once thought to myself, "I wonder what happened to Eve?" Instead, I thought to myself, "I wonder what Shailene Woodley is in next?"

It's Insurgent, by the way.

Ugh.

The Extras

There are a good amount of extras on the DVD / Blu-ray, starting with an audio commentary track with the writer / director, Gregg Araki, as well as the star, Shailene Woodley. There are ten minutes of deleted / extended scenes. Next up, there are separate interviews with Shailene Woodley and Gregg Araki. Finally, there is AXS TV: A Look At..., which is a very common feature for Magnolia releases.

I don't have the Blu-ray to compare its technical presentation, but I can comment on the prices. At Amazon.com, the DVD costs just $13, which is very low for a first run release. However, the Blu-ray costs $23, which is too much to pay when compared to the DVD.

The Verdict

There are a couple of really good performances in White Bird in a Blizzard, but nothing else really works. There are more extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray than I expected, but that's not enough to recommend buying either format. I guess if you really like the cast, it is worth a rental, but that's it.


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Filed under: Video Review, White Bird in a Blizzard, Shiloh Fernandez, Eva Green, Thomas Jane, Christopher Meloni, Shailene Woodley, Gregg Araki