A post-apocalyptic dystopian film pays close attention to the details to present us with a thrilling new film in John Krasinski’s new thriller, A Quiet Place. This review may contain spoilers.
The film centres on an end of days theme, the world has fallen into disarray as homes, streets and whole towns are abandoned to the wilderness. In the year 2020, a dystopian setting is in place, we’re introduced to a young family scavenging a shop for supplies in almost complete silence.
Josh Krasinski, both director and father in this film, plays leading man Lee alongside his co-star Emily Blunt who plays wife Evelyn; who search for food and medical supplies to help middle child, Marcus (Noah Jupe) before heading back to the safety of their commune in the countryside. Whilst older sibling Regan (Millicent Simmonds), plays a game and sits with baby brother Beau (Cade Woodward) who suggests using a rocket to escape the quiet world they live in.
Tragedy, and perhaps a small hint of irony, does not take long to strike, however, as a rocket is the downfall of this survivalist family. Now grief sends the family spiralling and isolation. Does Lee blame Regan, should he blame himself? Should Evelyn carry that guilt on her shoulders? As splinters grow and fractor between the family as we rejoin them a hundred days later, the dynamic has changed and it seems that the past may break the family and their future.
Krasinski has created a stunning piece that shines through it’s simplicity, it’s subtle details and it’s silence. It works simply by making us question what threat lies in the quiet.
A Quiet Place is a well thought out and mesmerising film from start to finish because of how simple the concept is; and it shows that by paying close attention to little details of a film (from how a character travels without making noise, to how much noise could be made, to how they communicated via sign language) take care of themselves. It’s the simple details that interlace with each other which truly make this not only well-thought, because you’re not distracted too much by simple mistakes, but gripping.
The jarring scenes, where the family is under threat, dripping from tense music, but lack of noise from the family, or lack of screams to be precise makes you squirm in your seat; from that painful bathtub scene with Emily Blunt to that haunting scene in the woods with Marcus and Lee.
It’s no surprise that our movie theatre was unusually void of rustles from packets of sweets, or popcorn, or slurps from drinks; or perhaps they were simply drowned out by the sound of my heart pounding away in my chest throughout the film!
I also have to say that the imagery in the film was beautiful, from the farm and farmhouse to even the abandoned town with the missing posters swaying in the breeze outside of the convenience store. You can tell that this film has had a ‘once over’ with a fine-tooth comb. I felt fully immersed in this film, even though at times, I was itching for a ‘pause’ option.
Whilst imagery and music can often feel disjointed from some films, here it works in perfect harmony with the plot to Krasinski sprinkling scenes with intelligent foresight; such as that scene where the laundry sack gets caught on an exposed nail on the stairs, which later Evelyn steps on whilst moving away from a creature. The film is packed full of scenes like this which make you hitch your breath waiting for the penny to drop.
However, one of the highlights to this film is characters who have more dimensions to them, as if they seem to grounded a little more in reality. The ones who really stole the show for me though, were Regan and Marcus.
Marcus (Noah Jupe) was such a sensitive soul throughout the film, having showed how caring and protective he is of his mother to how attentive he is of his sister in her grief (which he enlightens his dad to later on in film) as well as his anxiety throughout the film (which is in a constant state of flux but still present).
It was a nice way to subvert expectations as he was still anxious about those creatures, despite living like this for days on end, and how he completely defined the expectation of ‘like father like son’. Marcus is poles apart from the silent broodiness of Lee and his caring nature was added a lovely soft element to films at time.
Whereas Regan, for me, was just a brilliant realisation of a big sister. She cares for her brothers, whilst still showing that sibling rivalry when she wants to volunteer for survival training with her father; or perhaps you could view that as a protective act for her brother as she can sense his reluctance. Simmonds does a wonderful as portraying a big sister who still cares for her brothers, whether that be volunteering for additional jobs or creating and attending that shrine.
Again, her character was refreshing, you could tell she took mannerisms and her attitude from her father, but her strong character was what had me rooting for her the whole way along. She was a character who worked in a nice contract from her siblings, she was the most outgoing and one that could think on her feet. Her disability, her deafness, was never portrayed as a negativity or a hinderess in this film.
However, there is one aspect of this film which bothers me. If hearing is both the strength and downfall of these creatures, then how was this not highlighted earlier? Surely, the government would have tried to do some research on this threat?! Could it be that this threat was so widespread and so swift that there was no time to research, there was no chance to get close to these creatures without it ending sour?
Still it did raise questions, particularly with the ending, as there are some vague areas surrounding some areas of the film. However, it could be argued that this vagueness in certain areas, particularly surrounding the creatures, adds to the tension and the eeriness of this film.
Overall, I loved the film with the jarring quietness of the film was unsettling, pair that with a vague sense of the world ending and fully realised characters and general sense of foreboding, Krasinski has hit the nail on the head with this masterpiece of a film.
If they hear you, they hunt you.