A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.
Jordan Peele comes from a comedic background, having cut his teeth on his Comedy Central show ‘Key & Peele’ with long time collaborator Keegan-Michael Key, alongside a variety of other comedic ventures, but with his first feature, ‘Get Out’, he moves into the horror realm and it’s rare to see such a self assured debut feature. The film is about a young interracial couple who are about to meet the woman’s parents for the first time, staying at their fancy estate in the country, and the film works hard to establish an off kilter vibe from the outset which feeds into the natural worries and nerves Chris (a terrific Daniel Kaluuya) has ahead of the weekend. At its heart it’s more a social issues thriller than a horror movie (although it has elements of both), but the brilliance of ‘Get Out’ is in how well crafted it is and in how it superbly manages to get under your skin.
Chris and Rose (Allison Williams) arrive and meet her parents (excellently played by Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford), and as pleasant as they are, Chris senses something is off, particularly when confronted with two black servants who work for the family. Peele’s script and Kaluuya’s performance are incredibly good at toying with the audience’s expectations and making us wonder whether Chris’s natural nerves are leading him to overthink things, or whether something sinister is hiding underneath the family’s friendly façade. On the second day, Chris is forced to endure a large party with some family friends, most of whom make the kind of outwardly racist remarks that are more ignorant than purposely cruel, but this feeds into one of the topics Peele is looking to explore through his narrative. It would have been easy to have Chris encounter obviously racist characters like uneducated rednecks or neo-nazi’s, but it’s more telling to show the underlying (and often unintentional) racism within many middle class white people who would consider themselves liberal and how this can be just as uncomfortable for someone like Chris to endure. The skill in Peele’s approach is that he never lays it on thick, but he undoubtedly provokes thought and he manages to successfully weave the social critique into an incredibly effective and entertaining piece of cinema.
‘Get Out’ is scripted incredibly tightly, and virtually everything that is introduced or happens is important and will come into play later. I felt it was a little slow at getting going but once it starts to show its hand and lean into the satirical elements surrounding its themes, I absolutely loved it. The uneasy tension that simmers under the surface is delivered on to spectacular results and I thought the film as a whole was executed superbly.
‘Get Out’ is a terrifically smart, funny and thrilling movie with some biting social commentary, and it’s one of the best movies of the year so far.
Directed By: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones, Lil Rel Howery, Betty Gabriel, Marcus Henderson, Stephen Root, LaKeith Stanfield and Erika Alexander
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