A Quiet Place shows suspenseful silence, but is too noisy on the plot devices.
The best feature of A Quiet Place is the sound of silence. The absence of sounds and of spoken dialogue and even restricted accompanying music make it an impressive watch that delivers a unique point of view.
The story itself is rather simple, the thrilling effects are suspenseful, but there are a lot of plot devices that push these thrilling scenes forwards. It’s a film that relies heavy on sentiment, making it a family drama as well. It’s a post-apocalyptic science fiction film with brutal aliens monsters, a great gimmick, lots of plot devices and relatable characters.
It’s been three months since the earth was attacked by an alien species who haunt by hearing and only a handful of people is left. The Abbott family has settled down at a farm, but their lives are complicated and full of danger. Because daughter Regan is deaf the family is able to communicate with sign language giving them an advantage, to be as quiet as possible to survive.
But when the youngest boy Beau is taken and killed by an alien, the family has to overcome their grief, while their safe house is about to be attacked again. What makes it even more perilous is that mother Evelyn is about to have a baby.
Why you should watch it
Although a silent movie isn’t a new feature, A Quiet Place makes full use of this gimmick and turns it into a thrilling effect. It is not about completely omitting sound, but every sound the characters make can be deadly. So every sound that is made becomes suddenly very scary and dangerous.
Even the audience is tend to hold its breath in order to be as quiet as possible. This film is therefore most effective and impressive in a movie theatre where the dolby sound surround system usually fils the room very loudly, but now stays uncomfortably silent.
The film looks great, the cinematography really focusses on the family and the environment and the suspenseful scenes are shot in a tense way. Because there are only five people in the film, it has a strong focus on their bond and their interactions, which gives the film and intimate feel. Even more so because their communications are very intimate as well, as no one is literally shouting or raising their voice, making their feelings more tense and bottled up.
It’s interesting to see how a family works at absolute basic levels. It gives the actors a difficult task to perform, and demands of them to act with their bodies, their detailed looks they give each other. Furthermore, this form of communicating draws the audience further into their world.
The storyline on the other hand isn’t very original. There’s a lot of tension between Regan and her father Lee, mainly due to the death of Beau. But Regan also feels like she has to fulfill a feminine role like her mother while her brother Marcus gets to go out hunting with his father. While Regan is more brave and independent and shows more leadership qualities than her brother who’s more demure.
But there’s also tension coming from the fact that Evelyn is pregnant. Although this condition is highly debatable, in the sense of why you should get pregnant in the first place in such perilous times. And the fact that babies tend to cry a lot and very loudly to boot. This is an example of a major plot device that pushes the story and thrilling moments forwards but there are many more. It’s an essential part of the film and you’ll either accept it or you can’t get over some stupidities or irrational decisions the characters make, or is written in the script.
The alien monsters look great and are created to be scary. Every scene in which they show up, the tension rises. They cause a heartbreaking moment but heroic smart actions are taken by Evelyn and Regan. Although it doesn’t seem that way, the two woman are the tough girls of the film. It’s really all about them, eventually. But it only shows in the last scenes of the film, where both Evelyn and Regan can prove what they are made of.
My favorite part
The last scenes where Evelyn and Regan fight an alien monster are badass girl scenes. That moment the film transcends the sentimental parts which claimed a big masculine part of the film and switches into action and rational thinking. It is in stark contrast with Lee’s heroic scene, a scene that I found over the top sentimental and an emotional plot device that could have been easily avoided if he only had made a more rational choice.
I also liked the fact that Regan is played by Millicent Simmonds who really is deaf. It would be even more inclusive if deaf actors get a common role instead of a role that demands a deaf character. Her character was the most impressive. Her emotions, her complicated feelings about Beau, about being a teenager, about being alone, her coming of age are the most fleshed out, but I feel it could have been even more about her. The story could have been told more from her (deaf) point of view, making her character rise above a functional plot device, but turning her into an essential part of the storyline and how the film is shot.
The thrilling scene when Lee and Marcus encounter a desperate old man in the woods is also an upsetting moment, that was unexpected and a well-done change of events.
A Quiet Place is a very suspenseful film with likable characters and great alien monsters, but the story somewhat falls behind. And if you take away the brilliant gimmick of the silent approach, there are too many plot devices left.
Thrill factor: ★★★★☆
Drama factor: ★★★☆☆
Originality factor: ★★★★☆
Cast and crew
A Quiet Place is directed by John Krasinski and written by Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and John Krasinski. It stars Emily Blunt (Evelyn), John Krasinski (Lee), Millicent Simmonds (Regan), Noah Jupe (Marcus), Cade Woodward (Beau), Leon Russom (man in woods).
Duration: 90 minutes. Music: Marco Beltrami. Cinematography: Charlotte Bruus Christensen. Edited by: Christopher Tellefsen. Produced by: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller. Production companies: Paramount Pictures, Platinum Dunes, Sunday Night. Distributed by: Paramount Pictures.