A Quiet Place Review
John Krasinski impresses with a departure from his typical comedic tendencies
This review comes from my Letterboxd profile, where I write movie reviews like this for every movie I see.
A Quiet Place is a concept film, through and through. If the concept is executed inadequately, the film is going to fail. The idea behind this film is genius -- a family needing to stay quiet in order to prevent themselves from being attacked by merciless creatures in the woods. The kicker is whether or not the screenplay delivers on the potential of that premise. In my opinion, it absolutely does. This film is an hour and a half thrill ride from start to finish, recognizing that while there isn't necessarily a lot of character depth to be built from this story, there is just enough to make you care about the characters while being entertained. The best part of this film is the sound editing, simply because it draws your attention to whatever sound is present in the moment. A good 85% or so of this film is completely silent, making whatever sound is heard narratively important. Whether it's the background noise of the environment this family lives in or Marco Beltrami's intense score or actual noises made by the family, intentionally or not intentionally, every single sound in this film has a narrative purpose, and that requires meticulous attention to detail.
Every main performance in this film -- John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmons -- is absolutely phenomenal. Krasinski and Blunt have phenomenal chemistry, which makes sense since they're married in real life, and the moments they share together as a couple or with their children as parents in this film are always touching. Simmons is a revelation in this film, allowing a deaf actress to truly shine in a role and bring her own personal experiences to the story and to her own performance. She was my favorite part of the mediocre film Wonderstruck, and it's so amazing to see her given a meaty role like this. Finally, it's great seeing a pre-Undoing performance from Jupe, whose American accent is still pitch-perfect, and his father-son camaraderie with Krasinski bring some of the narrative highlights of the film. The fact that Krasinski co-wrote and directed this film demonstrates that he's more than just a brilliant comedic talent, but also a brilliant artistic talent. Now, it's not like this is the first film he's written or directed, but it's the film that put his artistry on the map, and it's absolutely deserved.
In regards to flaws, there's an integral moment in the first ten to fifteen minutes of this film that sets the plot in motion that I'm not even sure how it happened. I may have missed something, but long story short, without spoiling it too much, it involves something having batteries that I could have sworn were taken out of it before it was used. There are also times where the creatures are able to get into certain places and I'm not sure how they were able to. Did they break in somehow or is it just stuck in a particular location? The film doesn't always take the time to explain how the creature managed to arrive in specific locations. Aside from those minor qualms, though, A Quiet Place is a thriller-drama that knows exactly what it is and how to wring out every single moment of tension. It's an hour and a half long concept film that needs to make sure its characters are likable enough for you to care about them and otherwise simply focus on the horror concepts. Heck, there are even some really unexpected jumpscares in this film that genuinely made me jump, and I can't remember the last time a film's jumpscares actually worked on me. It's intense and thrilling in every single way, but at the same time, it does feel a lot like a set-up movie in certain aspects. I watched this film primarily because I'm going to see the sequel on Saturday, and with the context that there is a sequel, it does slightly come across as an hour and a half long setup. That being said, the story is still so compelling that it's a setup that works for me. If you haven't had the chance to see this film yet and you love innovative and original thrillers, definitely give this film a shot.
Letter Grade: A