A Quiet Place: Day One, Is A Masterpiece That Should Be Experienced On The Big Screen.

Prequels have a nasty habit of not staying true to the source material that allowed for a prequel in the first place. There are countless examples of franchises where the prequels fail to live up to the lofty expectations set for them by previous iterations. Sometimes the prequels look far more advanced than their source material, or the story simply breaks the rules that were set forth in the films before them. Thankfully A Quiet Place: Day One suffers from none of this and presents us a film that is better in practically every way then the movies that came before it.

Samira (Lupita Nyong’o) resides in a hospice care facility. Awaiting the day where the cancer that ravages through her body takes her. She’s angry, scared and refuses to get close to anyone or anything except her beloved cat Frodo. An opportunity to attend a show in Manhattan presents itself, and while reluctant to go, she is bribed with the only thing outside her cat that matters…pizza. The trip to the city sets in motion a horror far worse than death itself, as aliens descend upon the city (and the world itself).

The invasion sets forth an unexpected quest for the best pizza in the city, with Samira accompanied by her faithful companion Frodo, and Eric (Joseph Quinn) a British law student who’s only remaining connection to the world he knew now falls on the shoulders of Samira. Much like Frodo’s namesake, the three set out on an unexpected journey, and even though Frodo may not carry a ring, and the destination isn’t Mt. Doom, the stakes at least for these unlikely companions are the same.

There likely will be incredibly Oscar buzz around Lupita Nyong’o’s performance and their certainly should be. For a movie that features little dialogue (for obvious reasons), she draws the audience in with a connection that is both touching and heartbreaking. The pain she feels, both physically and emotionally is felt with every step that she takes. The world outside, while filled with chaos and destruction, simply becomes background noise against the backdrop of her character. This role needed to be played by a strong female character, and Lupita delivers in outstanding fashion.

Joseph Quinn as Eric presents the perfect Ying to Lupita’s Yang. Eric is a scared, reluctant man who seems lost in the world he now finds himself in. Yet is able to find his courage (with a little goading from our fearless feline) whenever needed. Joseph’s ability to take some almost frustrating qualities and make them feel “real” to the audience is one of his outstanding traits.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the true star of the show. With stellar performances from both Lupita and Joseph, it would be difficult for any actor to show them up. Yet here we are discussing the amazing feline companion Frodo (perfectly acted by a pair of cats named Nico and Schnitzel). I feel Frodo is the true star of the show, a cat who consistently urges the unlikely fellowship forward. He approaches life with the typical charm and nonchalant attitude that cats are famous for. The world is collapsing around him, monsters are running by him, and he seems unbothered. Yet, for all the typical stereotypes around cats, he is the compass, always directing Sam (short for Samira, another nod to Tolkien) and Eric where to go. As someone who owns 11 cats (a story for another time), I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the antics he gets himself into. He shows no fear, and every time someone is lost, he brings them back to the fold. The Academy has never had a best supporting actor Oscar given to an animal (not even Benji), but maybe it’s time to change that.

A Quiet Place: Day One is a hauntingly beautiful masterpiece. With some of the best cinematography to ever find its way to the big screen. For a movie that literally has “Quiet” in the name, the sound design is on par with any film that has come before it. A Quiet Place: Day One, is a masterpiece that should be experienced on the big screen. It’s a spectacle that few have witnessed in recent years and does what so many prequels have failed to do in the past, be the best film of the entire series.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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