Silence has never said so much.
I went to see the opening screening of A Quiet Place today with my brother. We decided to sit apart so that we could properly immerse ourselves in the intensity. Before you go and see this film, make sure you have done as much as you can to limit the rustling of your snacks. Not really a popcorn film…
Starring and directed by John Krasinski of The Office fame who had only previously directed two films, both comedies, making this by far his most ambitious effort to this point and perhaps one of the most ambitious films of the year.
There has been some sort of environmental disaster which has led to all of humanity fearing blind reptile-looking predators who hunt by sound. So essentially, if you can remain silent at all times, they’ll leave you be.
Krasinski and his real-life wife, Emily Blunt play Lee and Evelyn who are living a survivalist existence, while protecting their children. Living in a decrepit house in the countryside, they make regular silent trips to a ravaged nearby town for supplies. The opening scene sees the family in a supermarket, gathering essentials. Their youngest son wants to take a toy rocket from the shelf, telling his big sister it would take them away from this devastated planet. Lee shuts this down quickly, “too loud” he signs. Removing the batteries and laying the rocket down, Lee leads the family out of the shop.
The fact that Lee and Evelyn’s daughter Regan already has a hearing disability means the family is well versed in using sign language to communicate. Lee spends a lot of time in the basement of the house working on a new hearing aid for her.
Soon a new challenge hits the family. Evelyn is pregnant and without anaesthetic. And needs to be silent. Concerns from Lee and Evelyn about the future of their family are clear and they both make a conscious effort to make sure the children are capable of protecting themselves and each other.
A suspense thriller with sci-fi elements, the film had me on the edge of my seat from the off. One of the things that made it so interesting is the slow development of what we know the monsters to look like. Early on, we caught small glimpses and slowly moved on to seeing close-ups of the beasts’ unsightly and repulsive ear holes. This was a really effective way to build intrigue and fear for the monsters without depending on how they look.
A Quiet Place raised a lot of thoughts to me about our society. Coming out of the film, I thought about the scene in the abandoned supermarket where they could’ve grabbed anything they wanted. But now that normal life has totally broken down, the consumerist instinct had taken a back seat to literally staying alive. So they made regular trips and took the essentials and no more. Something to take on board for everyone perhaps.
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are both fantastic in this film, both with some emotionally gripping scenes. The children too, especially Millicent Simmonds as Regan. Defiant, rebellious and a little bit of a black sheep, she conveys the various challenges of her real-life disability expertly.
The film itself is full of excellent, silent, subtle storytelling clues that set up events which are vital to the overall plot and all loop together wonderfully.
I thoroughly enjoyed A Quiet Place, go and see it. And take quiet snacks.