Rarely does a film engage the viewer from the first frame until the closing credits, never allowing you to look away, whisper to your friend, or even grab a handful of popcorn. A Quiet Place is one of these rare breed of movies.
After 90 minutes we were so traumatized by what this family was going through that we were afraid to make a sound and left the theater in silence. Yes, this movie grabs you and doesn’t let go.
We Join This Crisis In Progress
The film starts 89 days since the creatures attacked. We don’t know where they came from, why they are here or how many there are. It doesn’t matter. They’re here and they’re hungry!
One of the great things about this film is it doesn’t waste our time showing the cliché mass panic of their arrival. We see the quiet panic of one family, struggling to survive moment to moment. The director (John Krasinski, who also stars as the dad) gives us just enough details through newspaper clippings and the dad’s research notes to tell us what we need to know about how we got here.
The family lives on a farm that’s been customized for quiet. We assume this is where they lived before, but they could have taken it over after some previous owner became lunch for the ravenous creatures. Again, we don’t know and don’t need to.
Silence Is Survival
This post-apocalyptic world is built for the strong silent type! And that’s a boon for the viewer. With minimal dialogue we are at the director’s mercy to show us what he wants us to see, and hear (or not hear) what he doesn’t want us to hear.
Once this film begins, there is no escape for the viewer. Krasinski takes us on an gut-wrenching, nail biting journey and refuses to ever let us off easy.
What Are Words For
In life and in movies, we take for granted verbal communications. It’s easy. It’s common. It’s expedient. Taking away a character’s literal voice they have to find alternative ways to express themselves. For Krasinski’s role as director, closing mouths allows him to open his lens even wider.
The way he brings us in to their world is astounding. In The Shape of Water, neither lead could speak and became two of the most sympathetic and memorable characters on the screen in 2017. Here our family is silent for different reasons, but those challenges don’t only bring them closer together as a family, but as a viewer as well.
The Power of Love
Everything the Dad and mom (Emily Blunt, John’s real life wife) do is for love. Love for each other. Love for the kids. Love for life. When every moment is lived with the express purpose of making it to the next, every moment becomes important. While Mom is teaching them long division, Dad is teaching silent fishing. She sees, or at least hopes for the future. He hopes to make it to dinner. We are just hoping to make it to the next scene!
There are feelings of guilt, reconciliation, and the scene in the grain silo between the two kids is inspiring. We know the mom and dad got some alone time at some point, because she gets pregnant. The silent birth scene is going to haunt your dreams.
Despite the fact it will give small children nightmares, this really is a family film.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Alcohol isn’t advised in their world. One too many and you start karaoke and boom, you’re the main course! But we live in the real world, so we’re pouring A Moment of Silence. But skip the ice. Makes too much noise!