The Quiet

"Bad"

The Quiet Review


A film that does its best to make the horrendous palatable, and the unthinkable titillating, The Quiet can be either (depending on your taste) a wrenching experience, or merely worth a giggle. It is, after all, a film about a deaf-mute teenaged girl named Dot (Camilla Belle), sent to live with her weird godparents and their popular cheerleader Nina (Elisha Cuthbert) after her father dies -- so really one can only take it so seriously. Clichés are the order of the day, with bitchy cheerleaders ruling the high school cafeteria and deep, nasty secrets discovered by people who just happen to be walking down darkened hallways in the depths of night. And if one has to ask whether this seemingly placid suburban environment is about to be torn asunder by scandal, one really hasn't watched enough television.

Director Jamie Babbit hardly showed much promise with her debut film, the stiff, one-note 1999 comedy But I'm a Cheerleader, but one would have thought that the intervening years spent directing episodes of such sharp TV comedies as Malcolm in the Middle and Gilmore Girls would have honed her talent somewhat. No such luck. The Quiet is so tone-deaf that when it should be eliciting sympathy or empathy, it comes off as simply amateur comedy -- Pretty Persuasion without the guts. She's put together a good enough cast here, with Edie Falco and Martin Donovan playing Nina's parents (the former a prescription-medication-zonked stereotype and the latter a creepy and controlling menace), though they're mostly marooned amidst the cartoonish plot of adolescent brooding and familial dysfunction. As Dot, Belle is stuck with providing her dialogue via maudlin voiceover ("I am invisible") while Cuthbert has to do what she can with a script that sends her character ping-ponging between damaged, vulnerable victim and Heathers-esque school-dominating bitch.

And what to make of this script by Abdi Nazemian and Micah Schraft? Undoubtedly they believed they were crafting a dark little drama about suburbia's seamy underbelly, with a symbolism-laden deaf-mute protagonist to act as a bid for arthouse cred. Instead they've put together a crude mash-up of teenage cruelty -- Nina tries so hard to make life hell for her new sister that you can almost see the sweat beads on her brow -- and stock representations of parental hypocrisy, with a persistent undertone of sexual perversity that veers more than once into leering exploitation. Nina's best friend, the ultra-slutty Michelle (Katy Mixon), has a porn fixation, while the object of her X-rated lunchtime conversation, the star basketball player, Connor (Shawn Ashmore), appears sexually attracted to Dot simply because of her passivity.

Although the balance of The Quiet pivots around the revelation of two shock twists, they're both so predictable that even Desperate Housewives wouldn't stoop to using them. Director Babbit's handling of the fallout from these twists, which should have been heavily emotional material, careens instead quite quickly into high camp of a sort that's quite impossible to enjoy without a stiff drink -- or three.

The DVD includes a few making-of featurettes.



The Quiet

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th August 2006

Box Office USA: $0.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $381.4 thousand

Budget: $900 thousand

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Destination Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 21%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 74

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , , Holly Wierssma, Thomas Schatz

Starring: as Nina Deer, as Dot, as Olivia Deer, as Paul Deer, as Connor, as Michelle Fell, as Brian, Maria Cash as Mrs. Feltswatter, Jo Baker as Myrna, Steve Uzzell as Mr. Piln, Ken Thomas as Officer Jim, Rudy Costa as Police Officer, Myrna Cabello as Waitress, Diane Quest as Newscaster #1, Quita Culpepper as Newscaster #2, Sharon Ploeger as Sign Language Interpreter, Jamie Levels as Ted, Laura E. Johnston as Regina McQueen, Michelle Brew as High School Student, as Fiona

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Advertisement
Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.