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A QUIET PLACE (M)

FOR WHOM THE DECI­BEL TOLLS DI­REC­TOR: JOHN KRASIN­SKI (THE HOLLARS) STAR­RING: JOHN KRASIN­SKI, EMILY BLUNT, MIL­LI­CENT SIM­MONDS, NOAH JUPE RAT­ING: hh­hhk T he wrong ad­vance knowl­edge about A Quiet Place can crush its chances of shock­ing, sur­pris­ing and sub­vert­ing the ex­pec­ta­tions of view­ers.

Should you ex­pe­ri­ence A Quiet Place with noth­ing more than your guard down, eyes up and ears open (trust me, this last con­di­tion is of the ut­most im­por­tance), then you will have wit­nessed one of the most un­for­get­table and best movies of 2018.

The movie opens with a ti­tle card in­form­ing us it is Day 89. Some kind of cat­a­strophic event has all but emp­tied the world as we know it.

On the main street of a small town, a fam­ily of sur­vivors is quickly gath­er­ing sup­plies. It is not the ur­gency with which the clan is col­lect­ing food and medicine that gets your at­ten­tion. It is their des­per­ate de­ter­mi­na­tion to com­plete their mis­sion with­out mak­ing a sound.

Any sonic ac­tiv­ity be­yond the faintest whis­per has the fa­ther (John Krasin­ski) of the clan star­ing dag­gers at his wife (Emily Blunt) and three young chil­dren.

An­other ti­tle card comes up on screen. It is now ‘Day 472’. Re­mark­ably, the fam­ily have struck upon an or­gan­i­sa­tional alchemy that has al­lowed them to go on liv­ing al­most nor­mally amidst such ab­nor­mal ad­ver­sity.

Their el­dest child (played by young hear­ing-im­paired ac­tress Mil­li­cent Sim­monds) is deaf, so ev­ery­one can com­mu­ni­cate via sign lan­guage.

Ev­ery­one gets around in bare feet, walk­ing only on ground care­fully lay­ered with sand to muf­fle their steps.

The mi­cro­man­age­ment even ex­tends to meal­times. No crisp food can be con­sumed. As for cut­lery, for­get about it.

How long can this all go on, you might well ask, when as much as a sin­gle cough can seal sev­eral fates?

An an­swer is not too far away, and we will be­gin to dread its ar­rival. The mother has fallen preg­nant, and shall be giv­ing birth in a mat­ter of weeks. A baby can­not be trained to zip up. So how can the fam­ily pre­vent a ter­mi­nal slip-up?

The ex­act­ing con­struc­tion of this seem­ingly sim­ple premise – and the as­ton­ish­ing sound de­sign hold­ing it in place – is as im­pres­sive as it is ef­fec­tive. The bulk of the plau­dits must go to Krasin­ski, not just for a fine per­for­mance (the en­tire small cast is bril­liant) but also for his con­sum­mate con­trol as di­rec­tor.

The end re­sult is nerve-shred­ding, spell­bind­ing and com­pellingly im­pos­si­ble to turn away from. You might be able to han­dle what you see in A

Quiet Place, but what you hear will take some time to get over.

EMILY BLUNT IN A SCENE FROM COM­PELLING NEW THRILLER A QUIET PLACE.

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