Somewhere Quiet which just screened at Tribeca is a taut thriller which operates as a suspensefully atmospheric descent into madness. The film stars Jennifer Kim as Meg, newly freed after a traumatic kidnapping in which she spent six months in captivity, now trying to reacclimate to her former life with her wealthy husband Scott (Kentucker Audley). When the film begins the pair are retreating upstate to Scott’s family’s countryside compound to hopefully rest up and reconnect as a couple, since Scott was a suspect in Meg’s disappearance. As we begin to witness just how damaged Meg has become thanks to her traumatic ordeal, Scott’s uppity, boundary pushing cousin Madeline (Marin Ireland) crashes their reprieve and triggers something in Meg, sending her sanity spiraling.
Director Olivia West Lloyd crafts a surreal world around her fractured protagonist with cinematography that delivers dream-like visuals. This is opposite anxiety-inducing sound design that constantly reminds us of the nightmarish underpinnings at work here. The narrative is brought home by a stellar cast lead by Kim whose performance is flawlessly executed in its empathetic exploration of PTSD and mental illness that’s rarely depicted in such a way on screen. We feel bad for her, but she’s kind of dangerous too. This, coupled with Kentucker Audley’s distant hipster husband and Marin’s overbearing, overreaching and over sharing cousin put you through the paces while questioning your own sanity at times. The film feels like a COVID movie at times, but it uses that claustrophobia to fuel the narrative engine as Meg’s hallucinations and flashbacks of her ordeal begin to bleed into the real world.
Somewhere Quiet is a meticulously constructed thriller that’s relentless in its anxiety-inducing ability to make you never stop questioning everyone’s motivations and narratives. The film’s dream-like flow and logic will not only transfix you on Meg’s story, but have you constantly second guessing not only Meg’s sanity, but your own. The film is atmospherically akin to being in an elevator while a couple has one of those knock-out drag out arguments, that you’re sure will be the one that shatters the relationship forever. What can I say? Somewhere Quiet was one of my biggest surprises so far at Tribeca, it’s a little pressure cooker of a film that masterfully toys with reality and thanks to its cast who never show their hand until the final moments, and it loves to keep you guessing as to who was responsible for Meg’s kidnapping.