Apr 9, 2018

REVIEW: A Quiet Place (dir. Krasinski)

'Legendary sound-man Walter Murch, who gave us those glorious quadrophonic helicopters in Apocalypse Now, likes to say that it wasn’t until the coming of sound that the movies discovered silence. What he meant was that you only really miss something when its gone — and it’s solid gone, as Balloo the bear used to say, in John Kasinski’s new thriller A Quiet Place. Kasinski also acts in the movie, playing a bearded father, opposite wife Emily Blunt, whom we first see treading barefoot around a disused supermarket, scavenging for prescription drugs for their older boy (Noah Jupe). They move with extreme care, on tip toes, using sign language to communicate. Why the caution? We find out when their youngest  (Cade Woodward) makes the mistake of playing with a battery-powered toy space shuttle. Giant skittering mantis-like bugs who detect their prey by sound scythe into view and tear the boy to shreds. Make a squeak and you’re toast. When I first caught wind of this idea in trailers, I let out a small squeal of excitement and then, in spirit of the movie, quickly bit my fist. It comes so deliriously close to the hush with which  thrillers are themselves received by an audience — all of us perched on our seats, ears and eyes peeled, not daring to make a sound. Movies make too much ruckus these days. The best thrills are always silent. Think of the silent heist in Rififi, or the silencer shoot-out in John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, or the way the Coens tipped us off to the presence of Javier Bardem’s murderer in the corridor with the sound of a lightbulb being gently unscrewed in No Country For Old Men. If I had to guess I would say Scott Beck and Bryan Woods’ idea owes something to that scene in  Jurassic Park, where the short-sighted T Rexes come so close to the children their snorts ruffle their hair — a lovely idea, never fully explored but here given its full due.' — from my Sunday Times review

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