Nick Wesner | Reporter
“A Quiet Place” is a film that takes its interesting premise and runs with it for the first half of the movie, then gets winded and takes a brisk walk all the way to the end credits.
From actor-turned-director John Krasinski, “A Quiet Place” is a film about a family struggling to survive in a world overrun by an alien threat that happens to have an amazing sense of hearing.
Krasinski, who has directed films twice before, is most known for his role as Jim Halpert on the television series “The Office.” Krasinski has two other directing credits under his belt, his debut film “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” and “The Hollars,” both of which saw middling reviews from critics.
One of the first things I noticed about the film was the amazing sound design. Most of the film is filled with silence and ambience, so the way it focused in on certain sounds throughout a scene was important to keep the film entertaining and the audience invested. The camera angles and sound work together to keep suspense high in this film, highlighting the precariousness of every situation the characters find themselves in, making things as simple as dropping a toy in the middle of an abandoned drugstore intense.
Another thing the film shows off early on is how excellently it can present its world through more than just spoken word and dialogue. The actions of the characters early on tell it all, how they’re all quite cautious about their movements, not saying a word. Newspaper is littered about, indicating that something has landed on Earth. As the characters make their way home, an important fact is revealed when the camera jumps from the perspective of each character, until we get to one: the daughter. The audio goes quiet, even quieter than it was with just silence. At this moment we know she is deaf, without anyone having told us this, and without being shown it, we have instead heard it, which is an amazing way to reveal this fact in a film that’s already filled with silence.
However, at times the film plays against itself with what it tells and shows the audience. Contradictions begin to crop up halfway into the film, as well as a couple confusing scenes that are never explained or seem to have much relevance to the film itself. The antagonists of the film demonstrate levels of speed at times that makes it seem as if they’re simply teleporting to a source of sound, while at other times it make take them hours to reach a sound. Character decisions become less consistent and seem arbitrary, out of character even.
This all culminates at the end of the film where the tone does a complete 180. The world as we have been shown up until now is bleak and rough, with characters having to struggle and put forth massive effort to survive for just a year. The ending does away with this and leaves off on a scene that would not be out of place in an action film.
I think the biggest problem with this film is that the premise is not explored enough. This is a world where people can’t speak to each other with words, and yet they must endure harsh conditions and horrible tragedies. They can’t express this through tears, and they can’t be consoled with words. Some incredibly powerful scenes could’ve come out of this, especially given the turn the film takes after the beginning, but instead we are simply given a time skip that jumps straight to the end of it all.
This film is like a story with a fantastic beginning and a questionable end, but no real middle to bring it all together and make it work as a whole. “A Quiet Place” has its highs and lows that will likely leave audiences disappointed that it didn’t turn out better.