A QUIET PLACE (2018)

A Quiet Place Poster

A Quiet Place is currently on Netflix, so I thought I’d settle in on a Friday evening and watch it for the second time since I’d originally seen it in theatres when it first came out. An unusual and unique film, A Quiet Place is both directed by and starring John Krasinski of The Office (US) fame. Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns, Wind Chill and Krasinski’s wife), a similarly household name, co-stars in this film co-written by Krasinski, and Bryan Woods and Scott Beck.

There’s no doubt about it, A Quiet Place is, in the first ten minutes of its runtime, a quiet movie. But indeed, it is a suspenseful one and wastes no time laying the groundwork for the story. The Abbott family sneaks around an abandoned pharmacy in a small, abandoned town with a few well-placed, efficient shots to let us learn more about the characters. There’s the mother, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), tending to the eldest of the two sons, Marcus (Noah Jupe, Suburbicon), who has the flu. She searches for the best remedy, careful not to knock over pill bottles.

Meanwhile, their eldest, their daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck) who is born deaf, looks on anxiously, until she is sure of her little brother’s well-being. The youngest, Beau (Cade Woodward), a little boy, is off getting into things he shouldn’t, as four-year-olds are known to do. He finds a toy rocket and Regan catches it deftly before it hits the ground. Only then do we get some undertones of a film score, when up until now we’ve only heard deafening silence.

A Quiet Place 1

Putting together the pieces here, however, doesn’t really feel like work, it feels fun. There is some debate about Beau being able to take the rocket with him, and this is a decision that forever after alters the lives and course of the action that all of the characters take. Almost right away, we get a taste of how deadly these huge and horrifying creatures are that the Abbott family is hiding from.

Secluded from the rest of the world on a beautiful corn farm with a corn silo, the house has been do-it-yourself soundproofed. It has been tricked out with security cameras in the basement and huge swathes of lights that can be changed from white to red in the case of an emergency. Something that I imagine can never be too far away in the trying, apocalyptic times of the Abbott family. The great command of shots by Krasinski from many different angles are not wasted here, but are used to full effect.

Immediately, A Quiet Place takes us into the action and never lets go of our attention for a moment. Setting up fully-realized, well-rounded characters that actually engage us and endear us to them can sometimes be a feat for Hollywood. But it would be even more of a feat when for eighty-five percent of the movie, its characters are required to use ASL (American Sign Language) to communicate. I feel like this sucks our attention in right away, always a good thing. In having its characters use ASL to communicate, A Quiet Place allows us to develop a relationship with the characters in a way that otherwise might not be possible. For other movies that don’t require the use of ASL, for example.

And because the demands of a film like A Quiet Place has, the actors do a fantastic job of telegraphing their emotions and actions, allowing the audience to assign motives to the characters quite easily.

A Quiet Place 2

There is always some debate about using the monster in the film, but the monsters are never over used and never seen in really good, full light until some scenes at the end. This isn’t Bird Box, and the monsters must be seen in this movie to maintain the full effect on the audience. With the movie’s PG-13 rating, there’s never anything to make people run screaming from the room. But with the opening 20 minutes, Krasinski lays out a story that should plant some seeds of doubt in the audience’s mind about the characters’ survival rates.

From what I understand from reading interviews about this movie, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt had a blast acting in this movie, and they genuinely look the part. I think the fact that they are married in real life made the movie a little more believable for me, and from what I had heard, Blunt wanted to act in A Quiet Place right from the get-go.

The movie is absolutely worth a watch, if only to see what all the fuss is about. It raises some interesting questions about gender division of labor. It’s also inspiring to watch if only to learn that congenitally deaf actor Millie Simmonds helped teach her fellow cast members ASL. You might be squirming in your seat or feeling too quiet yourself to eat your popcorn very loudly with a movie like A Quiet Place.

A Quiet Place is currently on Netflix.

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