A Quiet Place Part II

Release: Friday, May 28, 2021

👀 Theater

Written by: John Krasinski 

Directed by: John Krasinski

Starring: Emily Blunt; Millicent Simmonds; Noah Jupe; Cillian Murphy

 

 

****/*****

Speech is silver, silence is golden.

The old proverb has turned into a post-apocalyptic motivational poster in the brave new world John Krasinski has created with A Quiet Place, one in which survivors of an alien attack must mute their every move, their every syllable to avoid being gobbled up by these terrifyingly sound-sensitive invaders. When characters do communicate words and gestures carry weight. Sorry to the aliens, but it is the human factor — fear of failure, coping with loss — that is bringing audiences back for a second helping. The question is, was the prolonged wait worth it?

Short answer: an enthusiastic (but whispered) ‘Yes.’ The secret sauce may not have the same kick twice, for now we’re expecting unbearable silence, but Krasinski has great insurance against damages done by the element of predictability: He’s got strong characters (now handled by Part 1 scribes Scott Beck and Bryan Woods) and the caliber actors to take those creations to an even higher place. Big Tuna’s genius stroke, though, is in shifting the perspective to the kids, turning Part 2 into a legacy film wherein the younger actors have much more agency and influence over events. If the original was an allegory for parental fears of failing your kids, Part 2 swings the other way — Regan’s fear of not measuring up to Dad coming through in her damn-the-torpedoes attitude as she increasingly takes matters into her own hands.

More or less picking up right from where we left off in 2018, barring a prologue that gives us the origins of the creatures in chaotic fashion, A Quiet Place Part 2 wastes no time in justifying the big-screen treatment while along the way introducing some new faces and new albeit not surprising threats. Krasinski, who returns as sole screenwriter this time (and for a brief cameo in the film), sacrifices the intimacy of Part 1‘s more insular location for a larger playing board loaded with even more hazards, some of which truly catch you off-guard, while others might have you cringe for the wrong reason.

Jump ahead 474 days and the Abbotts, the world’s most resourceful family, are now on the run, bereft of Dad and the relative safety of their farmhouse. They are down but far from out. Mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt — Edge of Tomorrow; Looper), with her surviving children Regan (Millicent Simmonds — A Quiet Place; Wonderstruck), Marcus (Noah Jupe — Honey Boy; Wonder) and newborn in tow, is hoping, perhaps against hope, for someone out there to be kind enough to let them in.

They eventually come across a grizzled man hanging out in a dilapidated factory. It turns out to be an old friend from back in the day, Lee’s buddy Emmett (Cillian Murphy — Peaky Blinders; Batman Begins), now uncannily sporting a face covering and a shell of his former self having failed to protect his own family. Understandably he’s reticent to allow anyone else in to his safe space. Of course, uh, he does (otherwise this is going to be A Very Short-lived Quiet Place). It’s not long before the kids are getting restless and Regan, by way of Marcus, discovers there may well be other people worth saving out there. Maybe, upon uniting with them, both factions can help each other. Marcus, however, is not as willing to embark on a suicidal Stand By Me-esque venture into the unknown. And Emmett has made it clear there is nothing out there left to save.

A very likable cast goes a long way in offsetting some of the movie’s shortcomings. For example, it helps to have Murphy and Djimon Hounsou (Captain Marvel; Blood Diamond) fulfill archetypes. While the latter is almost comically incidental to the plot, discarded in a third-act sequence that feels rushed at best, he at least brings a quality of calm to a movie where quietude usually does not translate to peacefulness. As a flesh-and-blood character Murphy fares better. His presence, which evolves from estranged, put-upon uncle to supportive father-figure, becomes integral to the sequel’s themes of perseverance and learning how to move on, especially when he begrudgingly agrees to return Regan to Evelyn.

Part 2 is certainly the louder film. That’s not a bad thing. As the narrative opens into a trident of nerve-racking objectives that finds each Abbott uniquely in peril Krasinski blitzes us with moments of pure thrill while never compromising the humanity at the heart of his story. In fact some of the best character work in either film can be found in Part 2, whether it’s Regan showing compassion for a man who clearly is not her father (skilled in nonverbal communication, possessed of the patience required to work through such difficulties in moments of high anxiety), or Marcus battling something more than monsters as he holds down the fort/furnace while Mama Bear goes searching for precious supplies of oxygen.

Superficially Part 2 doesn’t offer a vastly different experience than what we went through in 2018. I’m not sure it is actually a superior movie but consistency counts for a lot here. Thus far we have two films whose structural integrity very much resembles that of the Abbott’s old farmhouse: Plenty of reliable, sturdy support beams in the form of well-worn genre tropes but also a few really neat, custom bits you won’t find anywhere else. It’s those little details, the way Krasinski and company relate the characters to situations, that will make A Quiet Place worth returning to again, hopefully sooner.

Ya did good, son.

Moral of the Story: The rare sequel that truly works on a conceptual as well as emotional level, A Quiet Place Part 2 welcomes audiences back to theaters in exciting, chilling fashion while laying a clear foundation for more to come. 

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 97 mins.

Quoted: “Run!”

Check out the “nerve-shredding” Final Trailer here! 

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.buffalonews.com 

14 Comments

  1. Tom, how have you been? I’ve been busy with a baby since we last talked! My first one 🙂 She’s 6 months now, and, obviously, there’s not a lot of time for movies these days, but I appreciate your connections/posts. I hope you are well and surviving. We had friends move to Nashville and Knoxville last month. (Denver is getting way too crowded.) Good vibes your way…

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    1. Thank you very much friend, it’s nice to be able to get back into some kind of rhythm! And to be getting back to some semblance of normalcy!! hHow are things where you live?

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    1. You shall enjoy this movie in time, Ipes. After you have done all of your Sadness Blouse chores.

      Now, back to your turnips!!

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  2. Great stuff, Tom. I never got round to watching the first film, so that’s what I really need to do. Glad Krasinski has put in another great directing performance though – I have a lot of time for Big Tuna!

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    1. Poor guy shows up one day at work with a tuna fish sandwich and, well, the rest is history. F**king Andy Bernard.

      Speaking of Ed Helms, hoping to get a review up of Together Together soon, he was fantastic in that. Totally different performance, wasn’t expecting that at all.

      Yeah you should give these two a whirl man, they’re solidly made and the characters are all really likable. They’re equally good movies, in my book

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    1. It all comes to down to consistency for me. The family unit is a really likable bunch — and I push back against other reviewers who keep knocking it for being “hyper-traditional.” I mean good grief, if all movies now have to feature some variant of the “normal” family nucleus, then call me conservative because I think this sociopolitical evaluation crap is getting out of control. Can’t a thing just be a thing sometimes???

      The movie’s really good though, it’s worth seeing in a theater!

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      1. (And, also, Blade Runner 2049 was, I think you’ll agree, a quality — and even more surprising — sequel.)

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  3. It was such a pleasure to reads this review. You’ve got so much information packed into this well-written essay. Even little references (Big Tuna = Jim Halpert on The Office = John Krasinski) that only certain people will get. Believe me, I know these reviews take time and I appreciate all the effort you poured into this one. . I look forward to your thoughts on the upcoming Black Widow.

    Hint: Please write about that movie. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your compliments, that means a great deal to me. I am excited to be back writing more consistently these days — the last year has been absolutely exhausting and took the wind out of my sails! It’s great to be back and to have the support from great writers and critics such as yourself. I will absolutely be checking out Black Widow and getting a review out for that one. Really looking forward to that one

      I’m glad the Big Tuna reference was not missed! 😉

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    1. I for one will have more confidence in another one if Krasinski remains attached as director. I think if he does not direct there could be major slippage in quality. (Though as I say that, Michael Chaves apparently did not drop the ball with Conjuring 3, so who knows?). I think it’s his personality that informs these movies a lot and that’s what has made them so enjoyable. The threats are so palpable, the family so endearing. There’s still more juice to wring out of this orange yet!

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