The filming world seems to be full of un-original ideas. Everything from endless sequels to the same types of films repeated and repeated until one falls into a deep dark slumber. The Quiet staring Elisha Cuthbert(24, Girl Next Door) as Nina Deer & Camilla Belle(When A Stranger Calls) as Dot from the cover and box description appears to be another teenage high school drama about some new girl and sexual tension sans Cruel Intentions. How…ver, this is not the case once you go through this brilliant movie. It really is the story of a Dot, a deaf and mute who is dealing with the pain of just losing her father in a car accident (and lost her mother to cancer many years ago). She has been sent to her god parents; Paul & Olivia Deer played by Martin Donovan (Weeds, Dead Zone ) & Edie Falco (Sopranos). However, the family is not as they seem. All of them including the daughter Nina (Cuthbert) & Dot harbor deep secrets as it comes together to a satisfying conclusion.
This picture works well for a number of reasons; the cast is strong even down to the supporting actors(Conner played by Shawn Ashmore (X-Men (Iceman/Bobby Drake)) and Michelle played by Katy Mixon) all give great performances. The sexual tension displayed is always treated with respect and while some of it is disturbing never comes across as trashy or un-needed. Another good thing to see is that the characters can be seen sympathetically even the dad; Paul who in a lot of films would seen as a complete creep for his role. The director Jamie Babbit ( Gilmore Girls, Nip/Tuck, Malcom in the Middle) does a fine job in this picture of bringing a very dark & disturbing atmosphere to it. The last thing, which is also rare for a film such as this is the fine thought out use of humor. There are a lot of genuine funny moments in the flic. As you get drawn in to the film you also will find yourself laughing at many scenes.
This film is shot in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. It is also shot in 24P Hi Def Film which is explained in greater detail in one of the featurettes. This film is primarily shot in the dark and to be honest it looks great. Never did I feel like I couldn’t make out a character or couldn’t tell what was going on in the scene. The blacks are great and the light shots are even better. It doesn’t appear to be operating on a large budget however they spared no expense to make everything look realistic and professional. Great job throughout and you couldn’t ask for much more.
Audio presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital (in both English & Spanish) is overall very good. It does make use of surrounds at certain points and the dialog is clear and not muffled. However, there were a few times when I wished for a stronger audio section and thought the film could have benefited from it. The audio presented is certainly sufficient and does compliment the film. There is also a Dolby 2.0 French mix along with subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Chinese & Korean.
Fetal pig, Fetal pig, let me in 4:45: this featurette shows the anatomy (literally) of the fetal pig dissection scene. Interesting little take on a rather uncomfortable setting.
Locations: Shooting in Austin 7:30: this featurette focus on the location of Austin, Texas and how they shot there. This focuses primarily on the house they used and how they had to change certain things to make it work correctly
Sans Celluloid: The Quiet and Digital Cinema 4:30: this featurette goes behind the idea of 24P Hi Def Film making and how much detail it brings to the film. Almost too much in fact as they had to use smoke machines throughout. Very interesting stuff, I would have like to see this expanded a little more.
Script Development 9:30: This focuses on the writing team Burnt Orange Productions from the University of Texas and their work on the script. Great job, and nice to see that UT does produce more than a bunch of jocks (sorry I went to North Texas, I can hold that bias).
The Cast 9:50: This last featurette deals with the cast and their interaction with each other. It certainly is a vital watch as it takes great detail to explain more of the supporting cast and bring us a complete story.
Trailers (10): Finally we get ten trailers including The Italian, Curse of the Golden Flower, Quincenara, Volver, Driving Lessons, American Hardcore, House of Sand, Art School Confidential, Dreamland & Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles. .
The Quiet is a great little movie that thinks on a big scale. With the talented cast highlighted by Camilla Belle’s portrayal of Dot, it brings together a tale of redemption & family secrets. It does have a few moments that you would classify as disturbing, however not so that it distracts from the film. In fact, it draws you into the picture more and what we have here is what will probably be recognized as a small time cult classic teen film. A film more comparable to Heathers than to Cruel Intentions. The strong female leads (Cuthbert, Falco & Belle) are likable interesting characters and help this film take on a life of its own. This is a must recommend, the only flaw I could really find is that it sometimes feels more like a made for tv movie than an actual movie. That is probably due to the casting & the director who overall are known more for their television work. I would have liked to also have seen a commentary by the director; Jamie Babbit. However, please do not let that distract you from renting or buying this dvd, all thriller fans should partake in this one.
Special Features List
- Fetal Pig, Fetal Pig, Let Me in (featurette)
- Locations: Shooting in Austin (featurette)
- Sans Celluloid: The Quiet and Digital Cinema (featurette)
- Script Development (featurette)
- The Cast (featurette)
- Trailers (10)