Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
A Quiet Place 2
Directed by John Krasinski
Written by John Krasinski
On a rare occasion I will watch a film in the theaters twice. Such films have been Lord of the Rings (all three films), Avengers Endgame, and the 2018 A Quiet Place. That film surprised me in how well it was directed and the story was simple yet interlaced with powerful themes of family and a parents love for their children. As a father myself it really struck a chord with me. The first word was there was no immediate plans for a sequel, but the first film was written so well it left so much room for a sequel. I like how they start with ‘Day 1” of the alien attack on earth, and yet don’t rely too heavily on news reports to tell the story that often films of this type tend to do. The original cast is back with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, and John Krasinski (in flashback scene) reprising their roles from the first film. New addition of Cillian Murphy is an excellent casting choice, but as my review will detail there was just a minor detail that could’ve elevate the emotional impact of the film tremendously. This film repeats some of the same beats of the first, and that is just fine. It also is paced well and strongly written. This will be a ‘Writing a Movie RIGHT’ review like its predecessor.
Here comes the spoilers.
The film opens up on ‘Day 1’ of the alien invasion. We see the small town at a baseball game and see some family moments before the world comes to a halt. Here we get a quick introduction to Cillian Murphy’s character, Emmett. The aliens wreak havoc upon the town and everyone runs for their lives. Jump to the last events of the first film the remaining family members are leaving their home behind to find other survivors. After following a smoke signal they arrive across the mountain ridge they have an incident that brings the monsters out and Emmett brings them into his bunker where he has survived since the invasion. There is an exchange of dialogue where he shows his face and they recognize him as a family friend. The mother asks him if he knew their signals was Lee and he says yes he knew. She then asks him if he knew then why didn’t he come to help them. The daughter looks at him with anger and says “You are nothing like him” referring to her father, Lee. More on this point later. While at his bunker, Reagan (again played perfectly by Simmonds) tunes to a radio station that is playing the song “Beyond the Sea” on repeat. She comes up with a plan that if she can reach the radio station, which is on an island, she can broadcast the hearing aid frequency to help others defend against the monsters who are sensitive to sound.
Against the pleading of her brother to wait until he tells their mother the plan she leaves the next morning on her own. The mother begs and pleads with Emmett to go after her and bring her home. He reluctantly agrees. He rescues her from an alien at a train station and she convinces him of her plan to do something to help people. Again he reluctantly agrees and leads her to a boat. The film splits times perfectly between the characters all dealing with tense situations. An empty oxygen tank becomes a very tense plot device. A baby and kid being locked in a furnace with limited oxygen also intensifies this plot device. The film utilizes sound to its maximum benefit, and the use of sign language is a very important part of the dialogue as well with a key earlier moment coming at another pivotal moment in the film. They make it to the island and also an alien makes it there as well. Great sequences and jump scares are aplenty. The film doesn’t let up from the tense atmosphere. When the climax comes it is powerful and executed solidly.
There is just one minor detail that could have elevated the emotional impact of this film. In the first film it played upon themes of family and a father’s love for his children, especially his daughter. In this film, Emmett should have been introduced as Lee’s younger brother. At the ballgame they could’ve established this and how Emmett was not like his brother. This then elevates the rest of the dialogue between the characters and him. It also gives him emotional motivation to go after the daughter and to help the family because they are his family. This is the missing piece this film needed to connect it all together. So when Evelyn asks you knew it was him it matters more. When the daughter says ‘you’re nothing like him” it hits harder. When he tells her later she is like her father, his brother, it would mean so much more. Again connection with family would be the only missing piece this film needed to be just that much better. I think any future films in this franchise would need to shift focus on other characters, locations, and time frames. The possibilities are endless. Especially when considering other possible ways to kill the aliens, or would the aliens possibly adapt. Again lots of possibilities to take future films and explore this world.
Thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.