Earthquake Bird

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Earthquake Bird
Earthquake Bird poster.jpg
Official poster
Directed byWash Westmoreland
Screenplay byWash Westmoreland
Based onThe Earthquake Bird
by Susanna Jones
Produced by
CinematographyChung Chung-hoon
Edited byJonathan Alberts
Music by
Distributed byNetflix
Release dates
  • October 10, 2019 (2019-10-10) (LFF)
  • November 1, 2019 (2019-11-01) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
  • English
  • Japanese

Earthquake Bird is a 2019 psychological thriller film written and directed by Wash Westmoreland based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Susanna Jones. It stars Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough, Naoki Kobayashi and Jack Huston.

It had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on October 10, 2019. It was released on November 1, 2019, before digital streaming on November 15, 2019, by Netflix.

Plot summary[edit]

Set in 1989 Tokyo, Lucy Fly (Alicia Vikander) is a young Swedish female immigrant who is working as a translator at a manufacturing company, and is suspected of murder when her friend Lily (Riley Keough) goes missing in the wake of a tumultuous love triangle with Teiji Matsuda (Naoki Kobayashi).

The plot of the film is interspersed with flashbacks of Lucy's childhood, as well as scenes of her romantic relationship with Teiji and friendship with Lily Bridges, an American expatriate. Teiji's hobby includes taking photographs of people, particularly women. Teiji would eventually start a sexual relationship with Lucy and later with Lily.

During a vacation to Sado Island, Lucy's friendship with Lily sours when she discovers that Teiji has begun a romantic relationship with Lily behind her back. Following the disappearance of Lily, Lucy is arrested and interrogated by Japanese detectives. Lucy claims that she murdered Lily in a fit of jealous rage, but is cleared after the body is identified as belonging to someone else. After being released, Lucy discovers evidence in Teiji's photo collection implicating him in Lily's murder and disappearance. Teiji attacks Lucy but she kills him in self-defense.

The film ends with Lucy in a cemetery with her Japanese friend Natsuko (Kiki Sukezane), reflecting on the past.



In August 2016, it was announced Wash Westmoreland would write and direct the film, based upon novel of the same name by Susanna Jones. Michael Schaefer, Michael Pruss, Ann Ruark, Georgina Pope will produce the film, while Ridley Scott will serve as an executive producer on the film, under their Scott Free Productions and Twenty First City banners, respectively, with Amazon Studios originally set to distribute.[1] In March 2018, Alicia Vikander and Riley Keough joined the cast of the film, with Netflix distributing.[2] In April 2018, Jack Huston joined the cast of the film.[3] In May 2018, Naoki Kobayashi joined the cast of the film, with production beginning that same month, in Tokyo.[4] Sado Island was also used as a filming location.[5]


It had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on October 10, 2019.[6][7] It was released on November 1, 2019, in a limited release before digital streaming on November 15, 2019.[8]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 50% based on 40 reviews, with an average of 5.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Riley Keough and Alicia Vikander give it their all, but Earthquake Bird suffers from a frustrating inability to bring its literary source material consistently to life."[9] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 48 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[10]


  1. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (August 4, 2016). "Wash Westmoreland To Helm 'The Earthquake Bird' For Amazon Studios & Scott Free". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  2. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 22, 2018). "Netflix Sets May Start For Wash Westmoreland's 'The Earthquake Bird'; Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough To Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 18, 2018). "Jack Huston Joins Alicia Vikander & Riley Keough In Netflix's 'The Earthquake Bird'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  4. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (May 7, 2018). "Naoki Kobayashi Joins Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough In 'The Earthquake Bird'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "Japan Pverview". Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Mitchell, Robert (August 29, 2019). "'Jojo Rabbit,' 'The Aeronauts,' Netflix Titles Feature in London Film Festival Lineup". Variety. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  7. ^ "Earthquake Bird". BFI London Film Festival. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  8. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 27, 2019). "Netflix Dates 'Marriage Story,' 'Laundromat' and Other Fall Award Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  9. ^ "Earthquake Bird". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  10. ^ "Earthquake Bird Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on May 24, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2019.

External links[edit]