If you ask me, there is one film you need to see as cinemas return. Not because the film is good (which it is – very), but it marks a fantastic return to the art of filmmaking and the medium of cinema that we’ve been starved of for so long. I’m talking of course about A Quiet Place Part II.
If you’ve been stuck in the house for a prolonged amount of time over lockdown, then streaming services have been your best friends. You’ve most likely binged many a Netflix series. Maybe the occasional film that you wished to have projected on the big screen, instead relegated to your minuscule laptop.
Suffice to say, A Quiet Place Part II pretty much is the quintessential art form to bring a glorious comeback for cinema. A visually driven adrenaline rush with impeccable sound design and intense performances all round. It’s hard to ask for more in a thriller.
The cast is stellar. It goes without saying that both Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy do a fine job, both committed in two highly physical performances. The child actors are two of the best I’ve seen in a while, their performances carrying the same weight and empathy they did from the previous film.
The world of A Quiet Place is expanded even further here but shows considerable restraint. The audience finds out as much as the characters do, with the bleak and hostile outside world providing a sinister barricade to any revelations.
Director John Krasinski cleverly avoids the negative spacing trend that many filmmakers use. This entails the movement of a camera to show off an empty quadrant of the frame, suggesting a jump scare will occur. Instead, Krasinski will often allow the horrors to creep up from the back of the picture, igniting the tension and allowing the audience to hold their breath.
The one thing the predecessor has over Part II is that I think the first one is slightly tenser. Here, the monsters’ weaknesses are known, which devalues the tension slightly. A creature is more terrifying when nothing is known about it. I’m just thankful that its origin or other facts about it are left an enigma. Better that than any derivative explanation.
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The film is 97 minutes long. This may take a lot of people back as many are at this point used to watching films that last two hours at least. It’s actually a really refreshing turn to see a film not overstay its welcome. It absolutely flies by, but not due to pacing issues, just because you are so absorbed in its content.
It bears many similarities with 80s action films. With its limited dialogue, subtle character drama and rather abrupt conclusion, it paves the way for much more focused and streamlined thrillers.
What makes A Quiet Place Part II work so well is how it can reintroduce a worldwide audience back into cinema. Using the tools in its arsenal that fit the criteria for how film should be made. It’s not the greatest film ever made by any means but in this current climate, it is the film we need right now. One that is a quintessential cinema experience we have been missing for so long.