John Krasinski (director)
03 June 2021 (released)
27 May 2021
Finally, we have A Quiet Place Part II which was one of the first films to fall to the Covid restrictions. There must have been temptation to stream it but the companies involved decided to wait for cinemas to open up. It was a good call.
A pre title intro gives us an insight into small town family life just before the invasion with the Abbotts’ attending a little league baseball game with Marcus (Noah Jupe) batting. Explosions in the sky and burning clouds unsettle the community, people start to move off.
The Abbott’s split Evelyn (Emily Blunt) with the two boys, Lee (John Krasinski) with daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds). With the town now in full blown panic mode, we (and they) see what they are up against.
Cutting to day 474 the Abbott family are on the move though having to collect things from their house. They are working on transmissions that suggest there are survivors.
Walking tenderly barefoot they come upon an abandoned steel mill, where they trigger an alarm alerting Emmett (Cillian Murphy), and the aliens. It turns out that Emmett (who was part of the town’s community) has been there after the invasion wrecked his family. He’s hardened and wary of moving on as people have changed and, as he says, maybe they aren’t the sort of people they want to meet with.
A long sequence at the mill sees the family eventually split up; mum has to find air for the baby, Marcus has to look after him and Regan runs away to be caught up by Emmett. And so the film splits into three inter-linked strands.
Part II is more of an action thriller than the first, with some spectacular set pieces and more aliens. Though it doesn’t totally eschew the dread through silence that marked out Part I, it’s just more selective in its use.
While there is an upgrade in the spectacle there is still a palpable intimacy, as the family deal and try to come to terms with their terrible losses. Emily Blunt is excellent grieving but determined to move forward. Each of the core characters are developed most noticeably Simmond’s Regan who is now much more assertive with a harder edge.
The introduction of Emmett is a little obvious though not incongruous and Murphy is very good brooding on the consequences of his decisions and actions after the attack.
Technically it’s pretty much faultless. The sound design that so defined the first is excellent working with the score by Marco Beltrami to create tension and maintaining it.
One of the problems facing the sequel was how to build on the original concept of the first without repetition. The novel use of silence to create tension and dread had a stunning effect of audiences, and maybe couldn’t be easily repeated to that extent. And from an artistic perspective I suspect it wouldn’t be very satisfying either. With that possibly in mind writer and director Krasinski has skilfully and sensitively built on and widened the scope of the first, while not compromising what made it so unique.