Get Out is written and directed by Jordan Peele (of Key and Peele fame) and stars Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener and Lil Rel Hewery.
This movie is a very interesting mix of horror, satire and social commentary. The commercials do spoil some of what goes on, but I’m not going to spoil the rest in this review. There’s some good reasons to see this movie and I’ll try to break them down here without giving away too much.
To start, the movie works as a suspense/horror film. And by that I don’t mean a slasher film but instead that creepy kind of sneaking horror that takes a long time to build up and then comes crashing down all at once at the end. There are a couple of cheap jump scares but Peele doesn’t abuse them and there are some genuinely terrifying moments where you are totally in the head of the main character, a black man named Chris Washington, and the terror he is experiencing. He’s in an interracial relationship with Rose, who takes him home from their eastern college to her affluent whitebread family out in a distant and remote neighborhood of Upstate New York. We meet his initially friendly and racially awkward family but soon things go from awkward to just weird and once the family friends show up for a party, things go into total creepoid overdrive. It’s sort of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner meets John Carpenter and while you may not expect it, this actually works really well.
The thing about this movie that stands out is the theme, which is not so much about creepy horror as it is the isolation and fear a minority individual can feel even though they are surrounded by people of a different race. Peele himself describes this as a social thriller. White and black relations have come a long way since the 1960s but we still have a ways to go before we can say everyone is on equal footing. Peele has taken his own experiences with this and written them in to the awkward silences and the even more awkward attempts by white people to make conversation with black people in ways that just come across as uncomfortable, clumsy and embarassing since even if they don’t realize it or aren’t trying to be racist, white people say and do things around black people they would never do around other whites. Because this movie takes the viewpoint of its main black character and focuses on these almost Twilight Zone moments of strangeness, it really does a good job of showing the audience how this feels and how this is actually just a part of any minority’s everyday life.
Mixed in with the tense suspense are some great comedy release points, mainly utilizing Lil Rel, who is truly hilarious. He plays Rod Williams, a TSA agent and friend of Chris’. His role is an outsider who is getting strange phone calls and messages from Chris during his time out of town and is connecting all the dots that Chris is not able to do being too close to the situation. Those dots are so strange and the situation is so weird, that these comic moments really help the audience come down a bit and keep the movie grounded.
In terms of the technical side, there’s nothing to complain about here. Peele’s directorial debut is certainly a competent and confident one. The acting is all good, no one is here looking like they are only collecting a paycheck. The editing, pacing and framing all makes sense and contribute to the building suspense.
All in all, I’m giving this movie a rating of Pretty Good. It’s a good time, has a good theme and does it’s job in an unexpected and satisfying fashion. I’d love to hear your take on it so leave me any notes you have in the comments section of this video.
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