Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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My Review of FREE SOLO

Free Solo, rated PG-13

Free Solo is an Oscar nominated documentary about professional adventure rock climber Alex Honnold, who successfully climbed the imposing, nearly vertical 3,200-foot granite formation El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on June 3, 2017. Incredibly, Honnold climbs the imposing wall without any climbing equipment (ropes, etc.), which is known as free soloing. The film is directed by Jimmy Chin (Meru) and wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhely (Meru), who along with the film’s producers Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill, received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature for the film.
Honnold, now 33 years old, tells us that he is a loner and has lived in a van for nine years. We see a family photo of him climbing a wall, and hear that he started at a climbing gym at the age of 5. His parents divorced during his first year of college and he dropped out after that year. He comes across as driven, relationally distant, and yet likeable. Alex has had girlfriends, but honestly states that he will always choose climbing over girls. In this film, we meet a girlfriend, the likeable Sanni McCandless, who meets Alex at a book signing. (McCandless is now a “transition coach for outdoor-focused individuals who want to create more tailored, intentional lifestyles and find agency in their own lives”). In the film, Alex is never able to give Sanni what she truly needs in a healthy relationship – her expectations of him are met with disappointment. Maybe because growing up he never heard the world “love” nor was he ever hugged. Continue reading

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My Review of A QUIET PLACE

A Quiet Place, rated PG-13

A Quiet Place is a well-made terrifying and intense psychological thriller/horror film about a family trying to survive alien killing creatures that hunt by sound. The film is directed by three-time Emmy nominee John Krasinski in just the second film he has directed (The Hollars). The film is written by Krasinski and Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, the latter two also wrote 2015’s Nightlight. The musical score is by two-time Oscar nominee Marco Beltrami (The Hurt Locker; 3:10 to Yuma).  The film was shot in New York and has a small, but solid cast.
The film is about the Abbott family trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Krasinski (The Office), stars as father/husband Lee and real-life wife Golden Globe winner Emily Blunt (Gideon’s Daughter), stars as mother/wife Evelyn. They speak sign language to their children, son Marcus, played by Noah Jupe (Suburbicon), and their deaf daughter Regan, played by the real-life deaf actress Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck). Lee and Evelyn urge their children to be as quiet as possible so as not to attract the creatures.
We are told at the beginning of the film that it is “Day 89”. The world has been taken over by creatures who hunt and kill based on sound. We aren’t given the back story on what happened or who these creatures are. The family lives in a sound-proofed abandoned farmhouse. They use paths of sand to deaden the sound and also mark the steps in the house that won’t creak.
As time moves forward, we see that Evelyn is pregnant. We have to wonder how she will be able to deliver a baby without making a sound? What about the baby crying?
While the film focuses on the family trying to survive and Lee and Evelyn trying to keep their children safe, it also shows us the family trying to live as normal a life a possible, given the circumstances. We also are given insights into their relationships, including Lee’s strained relationship with daughter Regan, who believes her father hates her because of something that happens early in the film.
There is minimal audible dialogue in this film, with much of the communication being via sign language. The film is efficient, running just 90 minutes, and always keeping the viewer on edge.
Content issues include terrifying violence. There are no sexuality or language issues.   Themes include sacrificial love, family and survival.
A Quiet Place is a well-made and directed terrifying story of survival. The music helps to build the suspense throughout the film. It is well-made and acted but is certainly not for the faint of heart.