'A Quiet Place: Day One' movie review: An effective Lupita Nyong’o shoulders this poignant thriller

Unbeknownst to the dangers that are about to crash at them, Sam and others take a drive to the city, to watch a puppet show.
Still from the movie 'A Quiet Place: Day One'
Still from the movie 'A Quiet Place: Day One'

CHENNAI : Michael Sarnoski’s A Quiet Place: Day One begins with a disclaimer: ‘New York gives off an average of 90 decibels, which is the sound of a constant scream’. It is a poignant reminder of how humans often underestimate the amount of noise they emit and it sets a solid foundation for the film. After having established the post-apocalyptic world where humans learn to speak through ASL and move with utmost silence in A Quiet Place I and II, Sarnoski rewinds the clock back to the day it all began. Samira (Lupita Nyong’o) is terminally ill and is living in a hospice with several old people in the last leg of their lives.

Unbeknownst to the dangers that are about to crash at them, Sam and others take a drive to the city, to watch a puppet show. Hours before the catastrophe hits Manhattan, military forces are ready and there is much tension in the air, but nobody is actually prepared for what is about to strike them. Hours later, the world quickly understands that in order to survive, you will need to stay quiet.

For a movie that is devoid of any sound, A Quiet Place: Day One communicates what most movies fail to do in two hours. In one particular scene, when hundreds of people walk towards a safe zone, the camera focuses on sources of the smallest of sounds—from the elderly using a wheelchair, a family using a trolley bag to thousands of pairs of footwear making a rustling sound—conveying that even several pins can create enough decibels to invite trouble. Sam is a stubborn woman who adamantly wants to buy a pizza at her favourite place, even when people around her are dying. On the other hand, when we first meet Eric (Joseph Quinn) he has waded through water for days. Upon arriving on land, he first spots Sam’s cat. It is probably the first time he sees a creature that is not predatory and realises that there is some hope after all.Quinn takes the restrained approach of letting his vulnerability flow freely. On the other hand, Lupita Nyong’o packs a punch at every single moment. Although Eric and Sam are effective central characters, it is Sam’s service cat Frodo who steals the spotlight in most scenes. It is fascinating how the makers use him to move the plot forward—creating effective edge-of-the-seat moments.

In just 90 minutes, A Quiet Place: Day One, just sets enough world-building for the audience to understand—helicopters lodged in buildings, manholes on fire and destroyed bridges and buildings. The film does justice to the much-familiar story but fails to give a comprehensive view of events. However, it is in the minutes of silence that the film speaks loud...enough to keep the franchise alive for many more adventures to come.

Film: A Quiet Place: Day One

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Joseph Quinn, Alex Wolff

Rating: 3/5

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