Review: The Quiet
Overloaded with cliché, but blessed with an above-average cast and a decent cinematographer, The Quiet is a film which is unfortunately trapped in a limbo somewhere between a typical highly stylized "there are dark, dark secrets in the suburbs!" indie flick, and an especially bleak Lifetime tv movie. Though the writers lay it on a bit thick with the hateful teenagers, pill-popping, and incest, the film is surprisingly watchable, though it isn't terribly involving. The tone is stuck in neutral for the entire duration, and so even its most over-the-top moments wash over the audience like the dull blue lighting in most of the scenes taking place within the home of the core characters.
The plot of The Quiet is both predictable and mildly inscrutable. The level of scorn heaped upon its lead — a deaf mute orphan played by Camilla Belle — is more than a little unlikely, especially given the fact that she also happens to be exceptionally good looking. 24's Elisha Cuthbert, who is credited as a co-producer on the film, is better than you might expect in her role despite being saddled with lots of weak "bitchy cheerleader" dialogue. Unfortunately, she is stuck in too many scenes opposite Martin Donovon sleepwalking through his "creepy dad" role, and the truly abysmal Katy Mixon as her vacuous and slutty best friend to build up much momentum. Edie Falco turns in a typically great performance as the zoned-out "pillaholic" mom if you're able to ignore the inexplicable decision that her character makes in the final act, and shut off the part of your mind that will inevitably think "Hey look, it's Carmella Soprano!"
Since it makes no firm commitment to either being Oscar bait or trashy cheese, it's a bit tricky to isolate exactly why the film does not work, since it helps to understand a project's goals before deeming it a failure. Regardless, its twists are telegraphed too far in advance of reveals that are not particularly interesting, or executed in a satisfyingly dramatic way. At its best, The Quiet seems like a rough draft in need of at least one more rewrite, and at its worst, an unimaginative work with delusions of grandeur.