A QUIET PLACE New film review
The introductory scenes of A quiet place allowing audiences to enter a world so fascinating that many will find themselves obeying the film’s fundamental rule of remaining silent. The film opens on “Day 89” of a world where humanity seems to have disappeared or have practically disappeared. As a man (played by John Krasinski, who also directed the film), his wife (Emily Blunt) and their three children (Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Cade Woodward) walk from a deserted town to their home in the wood, they ‘Be careful to walk only barefoot and not to make noise. Why? Because of a monster that could appear and turn their silence into screams. Later, the father gravely reminds his son: “Small noises are ok … loud noises bring danger.”
While A quiet place is more than just a horror film, it excels as an exceptional example of the genre. The suspense is indeed created in most films by the absence of sound; here, since every scene (even those where no threat seems to exist) depends on the tranquility of this family, Krasinski continually keeps his audience on the lookout. In an age of notoriously obnoxious and talkative moviegoers, Krasinski has made a film that strongly encourages (if not completely compels) audiences to shut up.
There are pieces that reminded me Aliens and 10 Cloverfield Road, as well as M. Night Shyamalan’s The village and Panels but, rightly, it is the family dynamic that provides the most dramatic power. There has not been extensive use of American Sign Language in a mainstream American film since Children of a Lesser God. In fact, there is very little spoken dialogue, as the majority of exchanges are delivered in ASL and presented in subtitles. The trips back and forth between the children and their parents are refreshing, rich in emotions and moving.
The key to Krasinski’s success as an actor has always been his eyes: his funny and hilarious close-ups like Jim Halpert on Office reportedly worked in silent comedies. Here he says little but his expressions capture the fatherly love and barely concealed despair of his character. Blunt is excellent and features some of the most grueling scenes in the movie. Jupe is touching in her shared scenes with Krasinski, in which a boy struggles to control his fear in front of his father. But Simmonds’ performance and character gives the film its heart. Simmonds, who is deaf in real life, tells of a girl who fears she has forever lost the bond she shared with her father; the emotions and character dynamics between parents and their children feel genuine and complex.
Everything about this production is exceptional, although the sound design is particularly remarkable. The only thing I didn’t like about the whole movie was seeing Michael Bay’s name in the end credits: yes, the movie frontman of “Bay-hem” is the executive producer of the movie. This and Ouija: the origin of evil are the only major upcoming films from production company Platinum Dunes of Bay to date. Bay is very lucky to have her name attached to such a strong movie.
Krasinski’s third film as a director is never wrong. Fans who have noted his impressive dramatic work in films like Promised land and 15 hours will nevertheless be surprised by what he achieves here, in front of and behind the camera. Considering the unique demands that the filmmakers faced (a horror tale mixed with family drama, presented primarily in ASL, via tour de force sound design), this makes the end result all the more extraordinary. . Krasinski has fashioned a masterpiece.