'Hook' and 'A Quiet Place' | Quarantine Film Club (Week 3)
It's taken me a little while to get around to this weekly round-up, but I'm glad to be able to finally offer some of my thoughts on QFC 3. For the third week of our Quarantine Film Club, Hook (1992) and A Quiet Place (2018) both topped the polls. I'd seen both of these films before, but discussions about the intentionally queer subtext in Hook with Das Stuck's Sam Kindon allowed me to approach the text in a different way.
Dustin Hoffman, who famously nails the role of Captain Hook in Steven Spielberg's 1992 film, explained to Playboy magazine in 2004 what he thought was the key to his character's success. He recalled having an "aha!" moment on set with fellow actor Bob Hoskins (who played Smee); "Bob and I were rehearsing and suddenly we looked at each other and realized it at the same time. We said 'These guys are gay...' and it was fun. Suddenly, we rehearsed it that way: 'Get over here, Smee, give me a foot massage.' [...] It made all the sense in the world."
Spielberg was allegedly unimpressed with the actors' creative spin, noting that Hook's target market were children. It remains unclear, however, why promoting the film in Playboy Magazine was deemed more child-friendly than a PG depiction of a same-sex couple. This queer subtext remains in the film regardless, and Hook - while fondly remembered - is perhaps the only film led by Robin Williams which sees him overshadowed by a supporting actor.
Drunk on fairy-dust, our delightful round-trip to Neverland eventually gave way to a pretty creepy hangover. A Quiet Place offered our Friday night entertainment, and the masterfully crafted thriller-flick has never felt so unsettling. Sure, it's beginning to sound cliche, but our ongoing pandemic is perhaps the closest we've come to a societal collapse since the Second World War. Oil stocks have crashed, Presidents are encouraging their citizens to chug Dettol and, at this point, I wouldn't recognize toilet paper if it rolled past me in the street.* A Quiet Place's opening sequence, then - set inside a post-apocalyptic, empty shop - has never quite felt so relatable.
There'll be no 'Clapping for Carers' in Krasinski's silent hellscape, though, absolutely none; in this world making any noise is a very bad idea. Combining these sonic limitations with a deaf child and a pregnant mother allows for some brilliantly satisfying dramatic irony, and Krasinski shows great promise despite this being his directorial debut. It would also be amiss not to mention the film's stunt-casting; real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski star on-screen as Mum and Dad, grounding the occasional sci-fi cheesiness in emotion and tangible chemistry.
Like Hook, A Quiet Place finds itself re-contextualised since I last watched the film. Krasinski was due to release his sequel to A Quiet Place in March of this year - I assume I don't need to explain why A Quiet Place: Part II has been postponed. The actor/director best known for his role on The Office (U.S.) has since become a staple of pandemic life; his internet series Some Good News, which highlights positive headlines during a time of uncertainty, has become a phenomenal success.
For Week 4 of the Quarantine Film Club I decided to take a little break but I've been really enjoying our little community. Make sure you stick to our Facebook Group for any updates if you're not joined in already, and I'm looking forward to finding out what we'll all be watching next!!
Written by James Green
*I would like to reassure readers concerned enough to find this footnote that I, James Green, the writer of this post, have had access to an ample supply of toilet roll throughout the duration of this pandemic. Sometimes, I think, I am too witty for my own good. I would also like to inform conservative readers that drinking disinfectant will not cure you of disease - you will, in fact, most probably die if you do. That will be all xx