EARTHQUAKE BIRD is a new Netflix crime mystery thriller. It has a wonderful core cast and does offer som truly fascinating moments. However, it isn’t a movie I’ll be watching again and the ending of this Netflix movie didn’t work for me. Read our Earthquake Bird review here!

Earthquake Bird is a new Netflix crime mystery movie which will most certainly divide audiences. Even the first user reviews on IMDb range from 1 star to 10. Neither of these rating are accurate, in my humble opinion, but I can understand the very extreme feelings.

This is not the kind of movie that will garner wide fame on Netflix though I expect many will give it a chance. Without any further comparison, the type of storytelling is probably most reminiscent of the recent Hulu / Netflix movie Wounds. One I loved but most people did either love or hate it.

Don’t miss: Our review of the Netflix/Hulu movie Wounds here >

Read more about this latest Netflix release in our full Earthquake Bird review below.

A very white cast in Japan

The story itself calls for several characters being white people living in Japan in the late 1980s. The setting is interesting and, honestly, most of these white characters come across as somewhat silly tourists who are not ready to truly be part of the country they’re wanting to live in. This feels very intentional and realistic, so I liked it.

I was also very impressed by the fact that the star of Earthquake Bird is speaking quite a lot of Japanese throughout the movie. The star of Earthquake Bird is Swedish actor Alicia Vikander and she has entire monologues in Japanese. I have no idea how this sounds to someone who actually speaks Japanese, but it was pretty damn impressive to me. 

Overall, Alicia Vikander is amazing in Earthquake Bird. The character is perhaps most comparable to her Ex Machina character, Ava, from 2014. Then again, I did adore the Ava character and I’m not crazy about Louise “Lucy” Fly in Earthquake Bird. However, it’s not due to Alicia Vikander’s performance. 

The movie also co-stars the always awesome Riley Keough who continues to deliver stellar performances. From her starring role in season 1 of The Girlfriend Experience to her performances in It Comes at Night or the Netflix movie Hold the Dark. In Earthquake Bird, Riley Keough comes across as a ditzy American at first, but there’s more to her – of course! 

The Japanese actors in this Netflix movie

In terms of Japanese actors, I was extremely impressed by Akiko Iwase who just stole every scene she was in. You may recognize her from The Forest (2016). Akiko Iwase only has a small supporting role in this Netflix movie, but I do wish she could’ve been in a lot more scenes.

The main Japanese character, Teiji, is portrayed by Naoki Kobayashi who I wasn’t familiar with prior to this movie. However, there was something about his mouth that reminded me eerily of Arnold Schwarzenegger. His teeth looks exactly like Arnold’s did in the 1980s and he even has an accent that sounds like The Terminators.

I mean, when Teiji (Naoki Kobayashi) says “Come with me” my mind immediately continued the sentence as “… if you want to live”. It has nothing to do with the plot of Earthquake Bird but if I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger in the mouth (and voice) of this Japanese actor, maybe you will too.

Earthquake Bird (2019) Review | Netflix Movie

The ending of Earthquake Bird 

I cannot talk about Earthquake Bird without mentioning the ending. If you are not paying attention to this movie, then you will be very confused when the ending starts to unfold. Earthquake Bird is not the kind of movie you watch while being on Facebook or doing something practical. It does demand your attention!

This should always be the case, but I recognize it’s not always possible for people to dedicate themselves 100% to watching anything at home. And with some movies, you can get away with paying attention most of the time. Earthquake Bird is not that kind of movie.

I don’t want to spoil or explain the ending of Earthquake Bird here, but if you do pay attention, you won’t need any further explanation. Whether you like the ending is another thing. I wasn’t crazy about it, but that has more to do with the feeling it left me with and not any specific parts of the actual plot.

Watch Earthquake Bird on Netflix!

This new Netflix crime, drama, mystery hybrid is based on a novel by Susanna Jones. I am not familiar with the book, but I’ve seen people comment that the ending has been changed – and not in any good way. I wasn’t crazy about the ending of Earthquake Bird but I do feel it worked for the style of this movie.

The film was written and directed by Wash Westmoreland who previously co-wrote and co-directed Still Alice which Julianne Moore won an Academy Award for starring in. 

While watching Earthquake Bird, I found myself being both intensely drawn to the story while also having a sense of being left out. You keep getting little bits of information and need to draw your own conclusions ahead of time. The directing and acting is very impressive but the plot and style of storytelling will not be for everyone.

Earthquake Bird is out on Netflix from November 15, 2019.


Director: Wash Westmoreland
Writers: Susanna Jones (novel), Wash Westmoreland (adaptation)
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough, Naoki Kobayashi, Kiki Sukezane, Yoshiko Sakuma, KazuhiroMuroyama, Ken Yamamura, Crystal Kay, Akiko Iwase, and Jack Huston


In 1980s Tokyo, an enigmatic expat is suspected of killing her friend, who’s gone missing in the wake of their love triangle with a local photographer.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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