Get Out – 5 out of 5
I really wanted to see Get Out when it hit the theaters because I’m a big fan of Jordan Peele and feel he is endlessly talented. Furthermore, it looked like one of those culturally relevant horror/thriller films that are so rare nowadays due to a genre that is too busy churning out mindless fluff and cliché stories. Sadly, I never got the opportunity to go but with its nearly universal love from the critics and the recommendations of my friends who saw it (and whose opinions I highly respect) I decided that I would blind buy the film. There’s always a risk when I do this but I usually only purchase a film I haven’t seen if I have a strong gut feeling that I will like it. I had that feeling with this one and my gut was right on the money.
|Hey, it's that funny guy from Atlanta. Not that saying that narrows it down|
because there are A LOT of funny guys on Atlanta.
|Somewhere some racist dude totally missed the point|
of this movie and thinks it's a cautionary tale
about interracial dating.
The young couple Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) are off to visit Rose’s family. Chris is slightly nervous due to him being a black man about to enter the very world of white privilege but Rose assures him that her parents; Missy (Catherine Keener) and Dean (Bradley Whitford), are two very progressive people. However, Chris’ paranoia starts to grow as he sees oddities around him in the form of two black staff members at the home who act very strange and unsettling but nothing can prepare the man for what horrors are waiting beyond the surface.
|Just a dude running...at night...nothing jarring about that.|
When I first heard that Jordan Peele from Key & Peele wrote and directed a thriller I was taken aback. I knew this guy from the world of comedy but after the initial shock faded I realized it all made sense. Looking at the skits he co-wrote, it is abundantly clear that the man understands storytelling and has a considerable knowledge of genres. Add in that many of the skits he did with Keegan-Michael Key had a lot of social undertones to them and I realized that there was a substantial chance that this film would be incredible. After watching it, my predictions were 100% correct.
|Stephen Root is also in this film and I love that guy!|
Get Out has an amazing amount of elements that all work in concert to create a film that is capable of being enthralling, engaging and entertaining but also suspenseful, tense and even comical at times. One of the more notable aspects is the absolutely killer performances given by every member of the cast. Whether it’s the unsettling behavior of the two individuals who work in the Armitage home (played by Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel) or the "seemingly normal but something is definitely not sitting right" element that is the entire Armitage family or the absolutely immaculate performance of Daniel Kaluuya as Chris—the man stuck in an absolutely terrifying situation—the production delivers immensely with the cast. Their roles all feel very believable and the way some can act off-putting without coming off cartoonish or over-the-top is amazing to witness.
|I know this picture is used all over for this film but it's so damn iconic and|
was such an amazing part of the film.
The next very striking element that made Get Out such an effective viewing experience for me was the story. Now, I realize a lot of white folks in the comment sections loudly declared (in all caps) that this film is racist because if there was a movie where the races were reversed there would be riots blah, blah, blah. Now, if they took the time to actually watch it, they would realize that the trailer only gave you a taste of the red herring that this film is. Jordan Peele lets you believe that the goings-on is one way for a long time and only subtly drops hints to the true motive that is happening. The story unfolds, develops and gives just the right amount of clues that, by the time the truth is uncovered, I was floored and extremely impressed. The craftsmanship that Peele put into the story is so majestic that he sneaks hints, clues, and an amazing amount of symbolism without you ever being fully aware of it but appreciating their existence when all the pieces come together. The thriller genre is so often a paint-by-numbers affair and usually overloaded with movies that look and feel the same from a story standpoint that to get something as intelligent and as expertly constructed as Get Out is damn special.
|I never thought Catherine Keener would ever creep me out but boy did she!|
|I have to add that I loved the character of Rod.|
He added humor without it ever feel like it was
taking away from the overall tone of the film.
The final element that made Get Out truly something special is the amount of social commentary it makes. The horror/thriller genre is no stranger to reflecting society back at itself and the way Peele held up a mirror and showed how the African American community views white people and how certain extreme members of the white community look at a black person is really astounding and extremely poignant. Never at any point does this commentary come off as trivial or lazy but rather it’s expertly woven into the very fabric of the story and every little tidbit Peele put into the background or into the dialogue or into plot points played a very significant role and made talking points about how our society views race relations. There is so much at play here that repeat viewings are almost a necessity because of how many layers are hidden in plain sight in this movie.
|For example, in this scene Bradley Whitford's character is making a "two"|
with his fingers and that means he is indicating the number two. Actually,
that one is probably not a part of the symbolism for this film. I just wanted
to sound smart.
I was very, very happy with my blind purchase of Get Out and found a film that has the depth and social awareness that few thrillers made in America have. For his directorial debut, Jordan Peele showed he has what it takes to be one of the greats and his skills as a writer have shown that he is far more than a man who is really good at crafting things that are funny. With its stellar cast giving their all (and then some) and a story that has the perfect pace, an excellent mixture of suspense and humor, and symbolism that is insanely smart and thought provoking, the film proved to be a unique experience and one that not only entertains but invites conversation from both a filmmaking/writing perspective and a social one as well.