The following contains spoilers for Netflix’s Earthquake Bird

Earthquake Bird seems like a great movie. 

It’s beautifully shot, hauntingly scored, and wonderfully acted. Alicia Vikander leads superbly, and Riley Keough and Naoki Kobayashi offer dynamic supporting performances. The 1980s Japanese setting is enticing, and nearly every scene seems fitting of an exquisitely rendered whole. 

The problem here is the story, a slow-burn narrative of jealousy and betrayal that fizzles out in the final act. (Warning: Heavy spoilers to follow.)

Earthquake Bird centers on Lucy Fly (Vikander), a stony Swedish woman living in Japan. She’s strange, stand-offish, a kind of Amy Dunne wannabe minus the snappy monologues. Lucy meets Teiji (Kobayashi), a Japanese chef and photographer, with whom she is instantly enamored. Their conversations play out like chess matches, two vexing sapiophiles as interested in uncomfortable silences as they are in banging the hell out of each other. Read more…

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