Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Quiet Place

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A family of five rummages for supplies in a convenience store in a deserted town. Heading back home barefoot before nightfall, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski) lead the way trying their best not to make noise as if their lives depended on it, when the sound of a toy spaceship suddenly shatters the deafening silence. The father runs back in a last-ditch attempt to save his youngest child, but the sound-sensitive predator is not to be outrun. The mother and her two kids are left without a choice but to watch helplessly in horror as they lose a loved one. A year later, life goes on for the Abbott family. Teenage deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) blames herself for the death of her youngest brother, while younger brother Marcus (Noah Jupe) lives his life in constant fear. Still unable to move on from their loss, the brood must prepare for their biggest challenge to date, that of Evelyn being due to give birth anytime soon. How are they to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where the slightest sound is tantamount to a death sentence?

Personally, the only qualms I have about the storyline are: 1) Why the hell would you put your youngest kid at the back the beeline given the circumstances you are in; and 2) Of the more than 7 billion population of the planet you are telling me that not a single soul really managed to discover the enemy’s weakness before almost everyone got wiped out by those extraterrestrials? Those two loopholes aside, A Quiet Place is arguably one of the most unique thrillers to come out of mainstream cinema in a while. That intriguing opening sequence alone is already enough to keep you glued to the screen.

The only creatures I know who have proven, time and again, to be allergic to sound are librarians from the Pleistocene era. By introducing aliens as the villains, there really is nobody to hate in this movie. Instead, you are left with some sort of just-deal-with-it kind of feeling. As such, the storyline gives its actors enough opportunity to shine, what with the scarcity of dialogues and the spotlight focusing more on non-verbal acting. In this regard, the ensemble cast does a great job in giving justice to their roles.

Krasinski, who also happens to be the director, keeps everything short and sweet as far as runtime is concerned. Clocking in at just an hour and a half, this is a concise thriller whose main leverage is its jump scares which, given the sound-allergic premise, are maximized to full effect. It is the kind of film that will make its audience feel too embarrassed to enjoy a bowl of popcorn while watching it in a cinema, in fear of making unnecessary noise that will ruin the ambiance for everybody else. Story wise, though, the narrative does not offer much as to how the characters ended up in the scenario they are in.

And that brings us to the promise of a sequel. Given the overwhelmingly positive response the film has been getting in both the critics circle and the global box office, a part two is no longer a matter of if but rather when. Lack of backstory aside, the movie ends with a hopeful and vengeful note which alludes to a possible revenge-driven storyline. Watching Blunt cock that shotgun with palpable conviction in her eyes just makes you want to see the sequel as early as tomorrow if that would even be a possibility. Hell yes, let's kick some alien ass!

Hopefully, they get to give us more answers in the sequel. Now that the element of surprise is gone, this narrative will definitely need more backstory to keep its emerging fanbase interested. Otherwise, they might just end up with a sophomore slump to be perceived as nothing more of a cash grab. This happens to be Krasinski’s first foray into directing a mainstream flick, and the result shows a lot of promise. Here's to hoping that if ever he is tapped to direct part two, he wouldn’t turn out to be a one-hit wonder.

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