How Silence Tells a Story: A Quiet Place (2018)

All movie lovers have a list of films that they regret not watching in the theatres. ‘A Quiet Place’ is among the top few in my ‘should-have-watched-it-in-the-theatre’ list. With the audience cheering now becoming extremely popular in theatres, watching ‘A Quiet Place’ with a group of strangers would have been a change as the cinema hall observed a pin-drop silence. The collective dread and empathy towards a family trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world (shared among the audience) would have been an extremely unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Being a big ‘The Office’ fan, I always found John Krasinski (who plays Lee Abbott in ‘A Quiet Place’) to be a comic actor. His role in ‘The Office’ (Jim Halpert) was pretty amusing and entertaining. But ‘A Quite Place’ completely changed my perspective towards him. He has not only nailed a completely different role but also has scripted and directed the movie!!

The next bit will contain spoilers, so make sure you have watched the movie before reading ahead!

Spoilers Ahead!

Analysis of the Film’s Dialogues

It is pretty clear that ‘A Quiet Place’ is a silent film (dialogue-wise), but you might be surprised to know how little dialogues it uses.

‘A Quiet Place’ has hardly 65 lines of dialogues, out of which 8 lines belong to a recorded song! To put that into perspective- ’12 Angry Men (1957)’ which has a runtime similar has more than 2700 lines of dialogues! (41 times more!!)

I admire this movie for explaining such an emotional and dreadful story in so few words. ‘A Quiet Place’ clearly proves that cinema is more than just dialogues and narrations- pictures and sounds can carry heavier loads to design an impressive film.

How to Introduce a Film?

The film uses amazing visual and audio cues to convey a frightening story. I especially love the opening sequence and the way it introduces us to the post-apocalyptic world.

Here are the first ten minutes from the film.

The brilliance of this scene is in the way it sets up the story. While many sci-fi or dystopian films begin with a narrative, caption-based, or dialogue-focused preface, ‘A Quiet Place’ sets up the new world with a terrifying, and utterly shocking scene.

The slow and barefooted movements, mute conversations, and abandoned buildings all point towards a serious potential danger. And this danger proves to be fatal when Lee’s son innocently turns on the switch of the toy airplane. The death of Lee’s son right at the beginning of the movie prepares the audience for an unpredictable and terrifying ride.

Another clever thing about the introductory scene is the way audio and sounds are used. When the camera shifts to Lee’s daughter, all the sounds are muffled hinting towards her hearing inability. Further, when Lee runs to save his child the audio is cut off, which increases the tension of the scene.

How did the Family Survive?

The film is so immersive that we tend to forget that there are only 4 main characters in the movie. Apart from the family, we don’t see any other humans (except the man in the jungle). This might lead to the question as to how the family survived in such an adverse situation, while others fell prey to the sound-sensitive creatures.

Throughout the movie, we also feel bad for Lee’s daughter (played by Millicent Simmonds, who is deaf in real life!!) due to her hearing inability. However, I believe that the family survived because of her deafness.

Since the first scene, we see the family comfortable with using hand gestures for communication, and this is probably because they were using it even before the arrival of the aliens. Their ability to understand each other without using their voices would have been the key to their survival.

Importance of Sacrifice

Lee fulfills his promise made to his wife about saving their children, however, it costs him his life.

The way John Krasinski gestures “I love you” to his daughter was one of the best moments in the film. Such an emotional and powerful scene…..with no dialogue! His daughter realizes that she was not being blamed for her brother’s death and that Lee always loved her.

During my first watch of the film, I felt really bad for Lee, as I thought that he died for nothing. But I soon realized this was not the case. His death not only saved his children but also his entire family.

Lee had been researching and working on the ways to tackle the creatures. He was even working on building hearing aids for his daughter. His research, innovation combined with his daughter’s presence of mind is what saves the family. His sacrifice was crucial for the rest of the family’s survival.

The Final Act

I am a big fan of ambiguous endings and ‘A Quite Place’ did not disappoint.

After Lee’s death, I felt that the movie would close down in a painless and uncomplicated manner where the family would kill the creature and safely evade the danger. However, the situation turned out to be entirely opposite, as the killing of the creature attracted other creatures towards the family.

Such an unpredictable and ambiguous ending proved to be quite entertaining and even hyped up my excitement for its sequel (A Quiet Place Part II).

Do let me know your thoughts on the film!

Happy Watching :)

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