Streaming: White Bird In A Blizzard

Shailene Woodley stars in Gregg Araki's White Bird In A Blizzard.

"Yeah, so what. I'm super hot
and I get naked. The movie
is good. That's what matters."
Director Gregg Araki brings forth his most accessible effort with his latest feature length film, White Bird In A Blizzard.

For this movie, he's assembled his most mainstream cast to date with shockingly earnest performances from Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Gabourey Sibide, Angela Bassett, Thomas Jane, and Sheryl Lee. This is a breakaway from his typical fare as Araki tries to make something that will not only appeal to a limited, alternative leaning crowd. With White Bird In A Blizzard, Araki proves that a little character development mixed with some of his tripped out visuals can actually appeal to a wider audience without strangling the art out of his vision. Unlike anything else he's done before, he tackles a moody and visually appealing domestic thriller and adds his own flair to some success.

Fans of his past work may be concerned that he's moving in a new direction, away from the types of films that have built his career but have done very little profit wise. White Bird In A Blizzard is his most focused feature yet and it hinges on effective performances from each of his lead actors.

"I'm so stressed. They told
me I couldn't show my
boobs in this movie."
A shameless (and many times topless) Shailene Woodley leaves every ounce of her big name status on the line as she finally makes some headway as a serious dramatic actress. Her performance here is flawless as she strips away her clothes, shows her body to the world, talks like a teenage whore, makes love to Thomas Jane, and takes ten steps forward as one of the best young actresses working today. Her innocence is lost with White Bird In A Blizzard and it's a wondrous thing. Seeing a "hot" mainstream actress tackle a role like this is very rare and Woodley is proof positive that Araki is moving on to bigger and better things.

But, all is not hinged on Woodley's talents. Christopher Meloni teamed with the ice queen, Eva Green, is a perfect pairing of two actors that know exactly how to play the sociopathic card to its full extent. Meloni is teaming with anxiety, anger, and fear while Green is totally frigid in her performance as housewife, Eve Connor. They're all backed up by a great supporting cast that doesn't feel like they're on the same level as the main players. However, it still maintains that certain Araki dialect or tone where his actors seem like they're not playing it up for the camera but are talking to each other naturally,like it were real life. This in itself is a refreshing break from all the overacting audiences get from most movies.

"So, tell me. Was HUNG
a true story?"
It wouldn't be an Araki project without an era specific soundtrack. The film starts in 1988 and runs until 1991. The Cure, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and numerous other alt rock favs of that generation are featured throughout. The perfectly defined soundtrack gives White Bird In A Blizzard a certain sense of nostalgia that music fans like myself will definitely enjoy from front to back.

So, if you're a fan of his past works, you might be concerned that Araki is selling out. He's not. This still has the markings of his past features. There's great wardrobe work, excellent lighting, hallucinatory visuals, angst ridden teenage dialogue, steamy sexuality, some homosexual undertones, and a cast of top shelf actors putting themselves out there for an indie director that should have been a huge name years ago.