The best science fiction and fantasy puts people front and center, and it encourages us to think about our ethics in real life. A Quiet Place (2018 Paramount, directed by John Krasinski) does just that. While I was watching this movie, and for days afterward, I asked myself about my values and whether I loved my family and other people enough. When a movie can get you to do something like that, it’s something special.
This was a remarkable, minimalist piece of storytelling in which silence, sound, and a rural landscape were additional characters. The acting by John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe (all playing members of a farm family dealing with personal tragedy under literally monstrous circumstances) is entirely convincing and elicits empathy.
As for the monsters, Paramount seems to have wisely withheld any images from general dissemination. Take my word for it, they’re scary and disgusting, and a considerable amount of tension builds up to the artfully delayed reveal. To get an idea of their impact, just consider the reactions of the people in the pictures included in this post.
When I first saw the trailer on television, I thought, “one of those.” I wasn’t planning on going, but I read some positive reviews and changed my mind. I don’t really like the scifi/horror genre, but I liked this. There was no gratuitous gore or profanity, and it was a good concept movie. Only a very light sprinkling of unanswered questions, apparent gaps in plot logic, and “why-did-they-do-that’s” were in any way problematic for me personally.
There are some interesting personal stories behind the production. The screenplay was written by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, two childhood friends from Iowa. I liked also that Krasinski and Blunt, husband and wife in real life, did this project together. Millicent Simmonds, who played the deaf daughter, truly is deaf, and her ability to convey emotion with facial expressions and body language is outstanding.
This is suspense with a soul. An elegant film such as this deserves a concise review, so I think I’d better stop. Until next week…