From writer and first-time director Olivia West Lloyd comes Somewhere Quiet, a haunting psychological thriller which embarks on a mission to scrutinize the bruising intricacies of trauma. Jennifer Kim takes the spotlight as Meg, a woman recovering from a harrowing kidnapping, a terrifying incident which resulted in her shutting herself off from the outside world. What follows is an uncomfortable unraveling, sending ripples across the seemingly tranquil surface of her life.
Kim does a sterling job of creating a painfully authentic character. As Meg, her gaunt demeanor, and silently lingering anxiety becomes palpable to the audience, showcasing Kim’s laudable emotive strength. Meg is both fragile and steadfast, quietly endearing yet unpredictable, and she never feels anything less than real. It is this absorbing lead performance which remains the film’s strongest asset.
However, her equally gifted co-stars are not afforded as much substance to play with. Kentucker Audley portrays Meg’s well-intentioned but perplexed husband Scott. Although his role serves as a sounding board to Kim’s pain, Audley is largely sidelined, reduced to mostly bland interactions. It is a waste of Audley’s talent and leaves us yearning for deeper development and emotional exposition for his character.
Meanwhile, Marin Ireland, in the role of Madelin Whitman, has minimal screen-time but still manages to shine, layering her scenes with a magnetic gravitas. Micheál Neeson, son of veteran actor Liam Neeson, puts in a solid turn as Joe. He handles the emotionally complicated scenes with notable poise and nuance but remains hindered by the meager character depth allotted to him.
Visually, Somewhere Quiet is stripped back and beautiful in its simplicity, using natural lighting and landscape shots to evoke the psychological emptiness of its characters. West Lloyd effectively employs brooding silences to provide an aura of intense introspection and allows room for reflection in the storyline. There is a deliberate sense of pacing that allows the audience to mirror Meg’s struggle to grasp reality. But while West Lloyd manages to set up a brilliantly eerie and disquieting atmosphere, she unfortunately fails to match it with a gripping narrative.
Somewhere Quiet attempts to offer an intense depiction of a fractured mind; it tries to dissect the darkness within. Yet, it sometimes feels like the film takes this task too lightly. Certain sequences – especially those set at Scott’s secluded compound – blur the lines between gritty realism and visual lyricism, somewhat detracting from the seriousness of Meg’s ordeal. Moreover, the film could benefit from a firmer direction. It feels uncertain in places, and important story beats are revealed haphazardly, often leaving the audience in a state of bewildered suspense rather than thought-provoking anxiety.
Although Somewhere Quiet succeeds in instigating an unsettling tension, it also frustratingly lingers just out of reach from where it aims to be, much like its central character Meg. The premise of the film – of delving deep into a damaged psyche and painting a gritty, realist portrait of trauma – is alluring, but its execution somewhat falls short. The sporadic rhythm of the plot’s unveiling may lead some audience members to disconnect rather than engaging them.
That said, Somewhere Quiet deserves credit for the measured performances. It also portrays trauma authentically and shows emotional truths. As West Lloyd’s debut, it displays promise. It suggests that with a firmer handle on narrative flow and character depth, her future works will pique interest.
Somewhere Quiet isn’t a revelation in the psychological thriller genre, but it does enough to command our attention. It provides an intimate exploration of the aftershocks of trauma. With glimpses of potent storytelling, this film signals an intriguing start to Olivia West Lloyd’s directing career. While it doesn’t quite hit its stride, Somewhere Quiet undeniably resonates and may continue to haunt you after the credits.
Somewhere Quiet Review: Disturbed Stillness
- Acting - 7/107/10
- Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/107/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 5/105/10
- Setting/Theme - 5/105/10
- Watchability - 6/106/10
- Rewatchability - 5/105/10