John Krasinski’s second directorial effort, “A Quiet Place,” is a terrific showing of his talent, both behind and in front of the camera. The film is a dark, compelling and suspenseful thriller. The story is unique and requires a well-woven script — which it successfully delivers.
What makes the film special, more than anything, is its treatment of the audience. Nothing is simplified or explained through lazy dialogue; it gives the audience credit for their intelligence.
“A Quiet Place” follows the Abbott family in a post-apocalyptic world. From what we can tell, most of the human race has been wiped out by monster creatures that can track people based on sound. As the movie tells us, stay quiet and stay alive. The family lives together on a farm carrying out their daily tasks in complete silence.
One of the children, Regan, is completely deaf. Lee (John Krasinski), the father, spends his nights learning about hearing and attempting to build a hearing aid that will work for her. His wife, Evelyn (played by Krasinski’s real-life spouse Emily Blunt), is pregnant — yet another complication in the world they occupy. The film comes to an intense conclusion when all of their problems coincide and they must find a way to survive together.
The first things that stand out in a film such as this are the script and camerawork. For a movie to have nearly zero dialogue for its entirety, a lot must go on to keep it working. “A Quiet Place” excels in using this to its advantage. Every tiny sound feels like a blaring engine, and the importance and weight of the noise makes it feel like its own character.
Small things also enhance the world-building as well, such as the grocery store they enter at the beginning of the film. All the shelves are missing food except all the bags of potato chips. It’s such a small detail and is never even mentioned, but it improves the reality of their universe. Who would dare purchase something as noisy as a bag of Sun Chips? Similarly, the family is always barefoot and only walks on trails of sand they have laid out for themselves. They also eat off leaves instead of plates. Nobody in the film has to explain why — it’s just part of their life. The world-building in the film is truly amazing and is a large part of its success.
Another major aspect of the film are the performances. Each actor does a wonderful job with their character and the situations they face. To play a nearly completely silent role is not an easy task, and the cast’s ability to translate emotion with physical expressions is magnificent. The chemistry the family has feels completely believable, and each has their own purpose and arc within the film. John Krasinski is especially good, leaving a heartfelt turn in every scene. His on-screen chemistry with Blunt is terrific (as it should be, considering their real-life marriage).
The other intriguing aspect of the film is its score. The silence is deafening at times. Marco Beltrami had the difficult task of assembling music that would somehow accentuate the lack of sound. He pulled it off, weaving his score throughout the film to wonderful effect. It often feels like the only solace in the movie, but it can also break it down in the most depressing ways. It’s truly a remarkable feat considering the specific medium he was working with.
The film is a well put-together piece of art that should be viewed by even those who get scared easily. It’s a masterful directing job by Krasinski followed by terrific performances on every end. Its ability to world-build without simple explanations is fantastic and adds to the amazing job by all involved. “A Quiet Place” is a smart film that should stand out among its peers.