Silence Saves Lives - A Quiet Place (REVIEW)
written by Jacob Chimilar
John Krasinski is probably best known for Jim Halpert in The Office, and to see him go from that to directing a thriller starring him and his wife Emily Blunt was something I don't think anyone would have expected. In the last few years we have gotten films like Lights Out and Don't Breathe where sight and sound have been the things that get you killed. A Quiet Place takes that concept and crafts something with more emotional heft than either of those films.
This is a film, like all great horror thrillers, that has such a strong grip on the viewer that when seen with a big audience amplifies the stakes. I was in a relatively packed theatre and the way this film through the essential need of silence and deliberate slowness of movement captivated the audience and built up a tone that was utterly menacing. Very few movies I have seen have been able to capture that feeling and have it stay there. There are no fake outs, no over the top jokes in attempts for levity or extreme acts of despair to give them something to cry about. It's a story of survival and watching a family work together to stay quiet, protected, fed and entertained amidst an ever present threat. The way this is accomplished is not through lengthy exposition but instead having clues laid out and scenarios arise that reveal the necessity for the things they have in place. It's smart, deliberate and well executed in every sense. The darker rustic tones of the film mixed with the fall setting bring about a grim cool feeling, the sparse music and fluid camera movements fits in with the life these people are leading. The camera is an observer that allows scenes to breath and move with it's fluid tracking. It is so important in these films because it gives a better sense of being there than a Steadicam or handheld shot thanks to the ability to go from fluid to still in the same shot without mentally breaking that tension with a cut. That ability is something our eyes can naturally achieve, and what the likes of Hitchcock and Spielberg have used so effectively in their careers in building up the atmosphere and tension and Krasinski uses this to full effect.
When it comes to the acting in the film, especially with kids, the less they speak the better they can be. Millecent Simmonds is a stand out as Regan, Lee and Evelyn's (John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) daughter who is deaf. She herself is deaf and Krasinski found it imperative that a deaf actress play the character. This fact is beautifully communicated in the film at the start as we see things from each person's point of view as they sneak around a store, signing to one another and when it switches to her perspective the ambient noises are cut off. Her brother Marcus is played by Noah Jupe who embodies the scared younger brother who will do whatever it takes to stay quiet even if it means never leaving the house. The real stars are the ones ones you came to see, John as a protective caring father and Emily as the mother who keeps things going with and looks after the kids but also has to contend with the fact that she is pregnant and the time bomb that becomes. But like any great team, its the combination of all these actors that sell this tight knit loving, if slightly strained family and make you root for them to survive.
A taught thriller is a hard thing to find, and one directed by a predominantly comedic actor is even rarer but A Quiet Place finds a tone and rides it so perfectly that you can't help but tense up, hold your breath and squirm in your seat as the events unfold. This is what people mean when they say a "Well-crafted film" the costumes, the sets, the cinematography, music, sound design, acting, everything all comes together to tell a cohesive and frightening story about a family who loves each other and will do what it takes to survive.
A thrill ride worth shouting about