'A Quiet Place' review: Commanding silence
From one angle, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place feels like a film that relies heavily on a conceptual gimmick, and screenwriters Krasinksi, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck seem to be aware of it.
Tension out of the unknown
The details of the world they created for their tale of a family struggling to survive is scant of details.
What they let their audience know is limited to the fact that in some near future, strange blind predators with hypersensitive hearing have toppled civilization, leaving scattered patches of humanity trying to live on a day to day basis, adapting to the life-saving idea that every bit of sound could mean certain death.
In a way, Krasinski is astoundingly clever about his way of divulging just enough information to push the plot forward.
A Quiet Place thrives in its ability to create tension out of the unknown.
It opens with near absolute silence, with children stealthily making their way around an abandoned store, collecting provisions. We then see the father (Krasinski) arrive, while the mother (Emily Blunt) reminds her children to keep quiet. The youngest arrives with a toy rocket which alarms the father. He takes the toy away from his son and proceeds to remove the batteries from it.
Later on, as the family leaves the store, the daughter (Millicent Simmonds), in an act of reckless generosity, gives his little brother back the rocket. Before leaving, the toddler takes the batteries his father removed from the toy and takes it with him.
The prologue expectedly ends in tragedy, and the tragedy becomes the emotional driving force that drives Krasinski’s picture beyond the gimmicks.
What separates A Quiet Place from a lot of other survival-driven horror films is that it is grounded not just on the characters’ ability to remain alive despite all the odds piling up against them. The film is fueled by a family’s struggle to retain a certain dignity, perhaps one that offers glimpses of a life prior to the monster invasion, notwithstanding the threats on their individual lives.
Sure, a lot of the characters’ decisions in the film are illogical, such as why would they decide to have a baby in the middle of such a threat, or why do they need clean clothes, or why does the father insist on household rules. However, those same illogical decisions comprise the film’s utmost humanity, the one element that adds a hefty heart to the very crafty endeavor.
A Quiet Place is an almost perfect thriller.
Its gimmick may not exactly be novel, but its commitment of the gimmick is perhaps the most effective, with each sound heard, whether it is from the film or from any careless member of the audience, evokes a response, a certain fear of an immediate danger.
The genius of A Quiet Place is that a lot of its most memorable set-pieces hinges on situations where noise is a necessity.
Too immense to resist
By painstakingly establishing the stakes of violating the rules of his film’s world and crafting characters whose motivations are never selfish, Krasinski is able to command complete quietude, even if the temptation to breathe louder as a normal effect of efficient horror is too immense to resist. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' Tirad Pass.
Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.