A Quiet Place Part 2 - Movie Review
WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) -
I was not gaga (excited, not the pop singer) over the first A Quiet Place. Did I think it was an effective genre film that was well executed and acted? Yes, but I never saw the original in the theater and watched it a few years later at home. The fact that I wasn’t jumping up and down with joy may have to do more with my own personality than the quality of the film. I often get prickly when a movie is insanely popular and everyone is raving about it. “Go see this film, you will love it,” immediately instills cynicism and raises hackles. “Don’t tell me what to like!” Yeah, not exactly open minded or emotionally secure, but hey I feel passionately about movies and I am not responsible for my visceral reactions.
So I went to see A Quiet Place Part II more out of camaraderie and support for the movie industry and not because I was just dying to see it. It was great to be back in the movie theater, and I got a personal thank you from John Krasinski the director, for coming back to the theater before the movie began. Okay he wasn’t there in Watertown personally, but in a pre-recorded message. Actually Krasinski and Emily Blunt are my favorite Hollywood couple right now, they are adorable, and so I felt like I was also supporting close personal friends. Hi John and Emily!
Spoilers if you haven’t seen the first part:
The film begins with a prologue, a flashback to the very beginning of the alien invasion, even before the first film started (DAY ONE). This was a clever way to get Krasinski’s character back in the movie. Then it skips ahead over 400 days to where the first movie left off, and we know Krasinski’s character’s fate. In the present his wife Evelyn (Blunt) and three children are struggling to stay alive amidst the apocalyptic new world. The alien creatures are still voracious expert killing machines that are blind and hunt via sound, so just like before—BE QUIET EVERYONE!
The Abbots (the family) have very few weapons against the “things.” One that is utilized effectively was discovered by resourceful daughter Regan – played by the excellent Millicent Simmonds. High frequency noise, like mic feedback, freaks out and immobilizes the “creatures.” Shortly within the second act, another character is added; Emmett played by the very competent Cillian Murphy. Emmet is a hardened successful survivor, who has lost his entire family. He has a safe bunker, and a “system” for surviving that he shares with Evelyn and her children. At first he rejects the idea of letting them stay, there isn’t enough food, he can barely take care of himself, and certainly doesn’t want to get attached to anyone else who will inevitably die; but he comes around eventually. He is impressed by Regan’s pluck, intelligence and strength and realizes the family is especially vulnerable because Evelyn has a newborn.
How much you enjoy A Quiet Place Part 2 may depend on how much you enjoyed the first. The film feels more like an episode in an ongoing series than a complete film, with a beginning, middle and end with any kind of resolution. On the contrary the ending feels abrupt setting the audience up for the next installment. The story feels awfully thin at times, more like situations that imperil the plucky characters. Undoubtedly that is the point, proving that every day existence can be lethal. However, occasionally I ask myself, “wait why is he/she doing that?” – oh yeah so they can be out someplace where a creature will come after them.
To me, the best elements of the film are in the details. The fantastic use of sound, and the sound design, the editing that builds tension and the great performances. The two young actors playing Evelyn’s children (not the baby) are amazing. Simmonds and the actor playing her brother, Noah Jupe are astonishing, conveying every possible emotion (mainly fear and terror) with their facial expressions and eyes, as there is very little dialogue. They are proof that talent sometimes is innate, and that despite the perils of being a child actor, they are incredible artists who are necessary to tell our stories.
Not a thinking picture, but an entertaining one, perhaps it is just what we need to get back into the theater.
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