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.