When M. Night Shyamalan was a one-man phenomenon making The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000) and Signs (2002) many called him a Spielberg clone or acolyte. Twenty years later, it is hard to get through a review of John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place without mentioning Shyamalan. This is a horror/sci-fi with an ingenious twist. The Abbott family (played by Emily Blunt, Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Cade Woodward) live in a post apocalyptic world where the alien monsters have very sensitive hearing.
There are two time periods covered, a prologue (day 89) and the rest of the action which takes place starting roughly a year later (day 472).
Krasinski, as a director, has built a film that is both patient (he revels in the silence- there simply is not much spoken dialogue at all- sign language is often used instead) and yet much of the running time (and this is a tight 90 minutes) feels like a heart attack of a thriller. The last section of the film plays out like the portion of Jurassic Park where Lex and Tim are with Dr. Grant trying not to make a noise so the T-Rex can hear them (and that ensuing chase). There is almost no waste in A Quiet Place– a very economic thriller.
Krasinski’s shot choice preference includes in a fair amount of overhead and wide shots to give you a true feeling for the setting and space.
Great use of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” as the couple sways together- the scene reveals their relationship with no dialogue.
The actors wear the pain of loss and the restraint of not being able to speak (even when in distress or discomfort).
A wonderful shot overhead shot in the bathtub/birth scene.
Another excellent choice is the ending—Krasinski does not stay too long at his own party, he leaves on a high note as Blunt’s character racks the shotgun.
If I like your blog-website and TSPDT, what are some other similar websites that you would recommend?
@RujK- It’ll be good to hear from others but when I am not busy on the site here I’ll go to David Bordwell’s blog.http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/ I go to metacritic, rotten tomatoes a lot- many great writers on film there of course but find myself on old Ebert’s site, or https://www.combustiblecelluloid.com/ – big fan. Another is https://criticstop10.com/
@Drake – An investigation needs to take place here at Criticstop10. What the hell happened to the critical reputation of Juliet of the Spirits, which is one of the earliest foreign language films to make the page?
1955 – Ugetsu, The Wages of Fear
1956 – La Strada
1961 – La Dolce Vita
1962 – Divorce Italian Style, Boccaccio 70, Shoot the Piano Player
All leading up to Juliet of the Spirits in 1965, placed higher on the year-end list than literally any of these other films (ok only one spot ahead of La Strada but I digress). And yet now it, a top 50 film of all time, is down on the TSPDT at #949; I wouldn’t be surprised if it just drops off the Top 1000 completely when all the 21st Century films waiting to spill out into the Top 1000 finally do*. It got several Oscar nominations, won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, and today I read people on Letterboxd saying “The use of color adds nothing. This would have been just as good in black-and-white,” and “it’s self-parody.”
*Look at the TSPDT Starting List; Spots 1000-1100 are made up at least 50% I think of 21st Century films
@Zane- very interesting- I had always assumed right from the bat in 1965 many critics were calling this lesser Fellini after 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita.
What do you mean by there is almost waste in A Quiet Place-a very economic thriller?
@Malith- There was an error in grammar here. Thanks.
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