A Quiet Place
A Quiet Place: A Suspenseful Tale of Empowerment
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Directed by John Krasinski, A Quiet Place is a refreshing addition to the horror genre. From the beginning till the end, the film pulls you in and makes you an active participant in the lives of its characters. One minute, you are on the edge of your seat and the next, you almost want to scream. Unlike the many conventional horror flicks that seem to be piling up in Hollywood, this film stays true to the genre by giving the audience a suspenseful and nerve-wracking experience.
In a post-apocalyptic world, a family comprising of a father (John Krasinski), mother (Emily Blunt) and three children (Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds and Cade Woodward) are seen gathering supplies in an abandoned supermarket. They move around with utmost caution and communicate in sign language. It instantly becomes clear to you that making a noise, no matter how big or small endangers their lives. The youngest child, being unable to process this concept, grabs a battery toy from the shop, switches it on and ends up dead. From here on, you are taken through the family’s journey of survival in a world where they’re surrounded by blind and dangerous creatures who hunt their prey using extremely enhanced auditory senses.
Director John Krasinski uses clever auditory nuances to establish the tone of the film. His method of using set-ups and playoffs are especially intriguing. For instance, in one of the scenes, a rusted nail on the staircase is displayed. Later, on revealing the pay-off, that small nail creates the impact a time-bomb would’ve created. Similarly, be it the shotgun you see or the trail of fairy-lights around their house, many props in the film are used as excellent tools to elevate the suspense this film tries to create. This is how A Quiet Place transcends the limitation of not having dialogues at all.
Furthermore, the director also maintains a tight balance of revealing and restraining details in the film. In many moments, you can feel the monster, you can sense the fear in the faces of the characters and yet, you never actually see the monster. The film showcases the creature’s physical appearance only a handful of times. This subtlety enhances the thrill factor by multitudes.
Unlike many mainstream horror films that first establishes the habitat of the creature and familiarizes you with its methods, A Quiet Place jumps right into the story. It’s no nonsense approach towards narrating the story is admirable. Instead of spoon-feeding you information, it lets you discover the creature on your own. You travel with the characters and make your own discoveries about the world they live in.
One of the predominant reasons why A Quiet Place is quite a remarkable film is its witty way of challenging the attention span of the audience. At a time when one would prefer to inactively watch films while folding the laundry, this film demands your attention. Even if you pause to look at your mobile, you miss a few significant details in the film. This manner of storytelling through visual nuances rather than heavily relying on dialogues redefines the relationship between a storyteller and his audience.
A Quiet Place is so much more than a horror film. It grants the narrative enough time to beautifully establish the emotional connection between the characters. Be it the manner in which the daughter lashes out or the act of their son overcoming his fear, every moment is carried out with utmost earnestness. Due to this, you tend to care for these characters. In the second half, the film goes a step further by replacing the idea of survival with that of empowerment. As time goes on and the family continues to struggle, their objective changes. They no longer want to merely survive; they want to break free of their fears. So when you leave the cinema halls, you take home the empowerment of these characters too.
The cast of ‘A Quiet Place’ acts as its backbone. All of the actors deliver an unforgettable performance. John Krasinski is a complete natural. His exhibition of liberation and sacrifice towards the end is especially brilliant. Emily Blunt is a powerhouse performer, her diverse emotional palette makes you feel everything her character feels. A special mention to the deaf actress Millicent Simmonds. From the rebellion of her character to her realizations, every little emotion is portrayed by Simmonds with utmost finesse. The conviction she displays in the climax is especially awe-inspiring.
Considering that the film has been conceived with almost no dialogues, a lot of pressure has been placed on the cinematographer. Charlotte Bruus Christensen takes up this herculean tasks and delivers extraordinary results. From the faded streets and the red lights to the haunting lakes, his visual storytelling possesses a vivid yet subtle quality. He establishes frame suspense with unique perspectives and unexpected camera angles.
On the whole, A Quiet Place is filled with moments of nerve wracking suspense and moving emotions. This is an experience you should not miss.