White Bird in a Blizzard (Blu-ray Review)

White Bird In A BlizzardKat Connors (Shailene Woodley) is a young woman embracing her newfound sexuality when her glamorous but strange mother Eve (Eva Green) vanishes. At first Kat is excited by her new freedom, distracted by the boy next door (Shiloh Fernandez) and the cop working the case (Thomas Jane). But as disturbing facts about the disappearance surface, the mystery begins to haunt her. From acclaimed director Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin, Smiley Face, Kaboom), based on the best-selling novel. Also starring Christopher Meloni, Gabourey Sidibe and Angela Bassett. 


White Bird In A Blizzard


Let me just start this review by saying that director Gregg Araki is back! Wow, it’s been four long years since Kaboom and boy does he bring the “kaboom” to White Bird in a Blizzard. Shailene Woodley (Divergent) plays Kat Connor, a blossoming young girl, who has a couple of dysfunctional parental units. Eve Connor (Eva Green) is the creepy, almost maniacal mother, while Brock Connor (Christopher Meloni) is the polar opposite father. He’s beyond a wimp and cowers at the very sight of his beautiful and manic-depressive wife.

One day when Kat comes home from school she finds that her mother is gone. Eve has simply vanished and there is no trace of her. The police are called and the investigation is handled by Detective Scieziesciez (I think that last name is an inside joke 😉 ) played by Thomas Jane. The usual police procedural steps are taken and the entire family and surrounding group of folks in the neighborhood are cleared of any wrongdoing via fingerprints and what not. Kat spends the rest of the time reminiscing about how strange her mother had been acting prior to the disappearance while hanging out with her boyfriend and neighbor Phil (Shiloh Fernandez).

The film flashes back, forward, and includes several dream sequences that may shed some light on to what happened to Eve. Once we’re brought into the present, which is 1988, Kat spends her time with best friends Beth (Gabourey Sidibe) and Mickey (Mark Indelicato), as they go about being on the last cusps of teenage-hood and segueing into adult-hood. Yes, hormones rage, and Kat has a voracious sexual appetite and enjoys Phil’s company. This gets all sorts of creepy when Eve, in flashbacks, asks Kat about her sex life and about Phil’s sexual prowess. Let’s just say it gets very uncomfortable and downright fascinating.

I wasn’t too familiar with Shailene Woodley outside of Divergent and have a feeling that this was shot way before that but she does a great job carrying the film. Eva Green is a knock out and knocks it out of the park, too. The supporting cast featuring Thomas Jane and Angela Bassett as a psychiatrist give the film added gravitas and it was neat to see them here. My biggest compliment to the film is that Gregg Araki is back. He’s one my favorite independent film directors and it’s been way too long since his last picture. I also believe that this film is one of his only adaptations as opposed to his original material that deals with teen angst and sexual identity. I’m hoping we get more Araki films on Blu-ray, because they need to be seen and appreciated.

White Bird in a Blizzard may have gotten overshadowed this year – I didn’t even know about it until I got the PR release for it and saw Araki’s name on it, which is why I jumped at the chance to review the Blu-ray. I’m glad I did, because everyone involved should be proud of the picture. I am not familiar with the source material but Araki and company makes it their own beast and the Araki-isms are kept in. Oh, and the soundtrack is pretty killer, too. If you’re at all curious to see what all my fuss is about then I suggest you give it a go.


White Bird In A Blizzard


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: As with most Magnolia released Blu-rays you’ll be getting the real deal here. Contrast is impeccable and was tweaked slightly during the various dream and flashback sequences. There are no contrast or sharpness fluctuations throughout the film that I was able to see.

Depth: Outside of a few spots of softness White Bird in a Blizzard looked terrific even if the way it was shot wasn’t all that expansive. It’s not what you see it’s what you don’t see that matters in this film.

Black Levels: Black levels stayed true to the source and never crushed or compressed.

Color Reproduction: The color palette was the most amusing part of the transfer, because the film took place in 1988 and flash forward to 1990-1991, so the clothing and environments were a tad on the garish side. The transfer brings it all out.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones were kept on the nice and natural side and Eva Green looked great as a 42-year-old mother of a teenage girl.

Noise/Artifacts: I only spotted a few instances of minor specs here and there but the overall picture (99% of it) looked great.


White Bird In A Blizzard


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: White Bird in a Blizzard has a very dynamic soundtrack that utilizes various popular music of the time (it’s still popular) and the lossless track immerses you in 1988. Yes, the film is not an action-packed feature but the material benefits from a strong audio presentation.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer channel gives the scenes featuring low-end bass an extra kick when needed, so no complaints there.

Surround Sound Presentation: Scenes that involved crowds, music, ambience, etc., were nicely handled by the rear channels – nothing carried over from the rear to the front that could have been disruptive.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels remained clean and crisp throughout – nothing ever got jumbled about during playback.

White Bird In A Blizzard


White Bird in a Blizzard on Blu-ray comes stacked with some worthy extras that include: deleted scenes, and audio commentary with director-co-writer Gregg Araki and actress Shailene Woodley. An interview with Araki and Woodley are also included (separate interviews), as are the typical featurettes. The audio commentary and interviews are pretty damn good, too.

  • Commentary with Director Gregg Araki and Actress Shailene Woodley – Here’s a very entertaining audio commentary featuring director Gregg Araki and actress Shailene Woodley. They talk about every part of production on Blizzard. It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to an audio commentary that wasn’t a self-congratulatory piece.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD) – These deleted scenes consist of mostly dream-flashback cuts and an alternate title sequence.
  • Interview with Director Gregg Araki (HD) – Director Gregg Araki talks about working with his actresses and how the project came to be.
  • Interview with Actress Shailene Woodley  (HD) – Woodley talks about working with Araki and the rest of her co-stars. She sports a very short blond crop, which leads me to believe she was still filming Insurgent at the time she was doing press for White Bird in a Blizzard. She’s a very busy girl.
  • AXS TV: A Look at White Bird in a Blizzard (HD) – Here’s one of those fluff promotional pieces that combine bits of the trailer and interview segments. It’s redundant to say the least.
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD) – This is the theatrical for White Bird in a Blizzard and it is presented in highs definition.

White Bird In A Blizzard


Sure, 2014 may have been the year of Gone Girl but if you want a very cool thriller that went under the radar then White Bird in a Blizzard is just what you need. The video and audio on this Blu-ray are near-reference and the special features are more than adequate. It’s way too long since we had a Gregg Araki film and it’s great to see the man is back in form. White Bird in a Blizzard was a treat and comes highly recommended.



Order White Bird in a Blizzard on Blu-ray!

White Bird In A Blizzard


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

3 Responses to “White Bird in a Blizzard (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Great review!
    You make me want to check this one out now!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    I think you would like it. It’ every straightforward and has many twist and turns.

  3. Brian White

    You were right! Awesome! Awesome twist at the end! I liked it!