Get Out Review: A Cult Classic in the Making
Get Out, the directorial debut by Jordan Peele is marketed as a horror film. While the movie does have its fair share of scary moments, at the center of Get Out is much more of a critical and cautionary tale. It’s a film and genre of its own. There’s bits of horror, classic gore-slasher thriller, hilariously gut-busting comedy and social commentary. Get Out is most certainly a movie that will stir up controversy and conversation amongst moviegoers for some time, for better or worse. I say that with the hope that people won’t misrepresent the film and call it “racist” or “anti-white,” or what have you. Because this is an incredibly smart, well put together and entertaining film, destined to be a classic amongst those who will appreciate it.
Get Out follows Chris, (Daniel Kaluuya) a young African American man who visits his white girlfriends, Rose (Allison Williams) family estate. He learns that many of its residents, who are black, have gone missing. Rose’s mother, Missy (Catherine Keener) and father, Dean (the remarkable Bradley Whitford) start off being polite and generous to Chris, almost to a fault. As time passes, Chris quickly learns that his girlfriend’s parents are hiding something, as is the predominantly white community in who they associate with.
Very rarely do I want to stand up and cheer after a screening, and when the final scene in Get Out faded to black, I had to hold myself back in doing so. From the films expertly shot opening, I was hooked and fully immersed in the world Jordan Peele brought to life. We open with an African American male lost in a strange, eerie suburban neighborhood, having witty banter on the phone with a friend. He is soon followed and abducted by a mysterious person in a metal helmet. Within the 2 minute scene, Peele shows off how well of a director he is, with suburb scaling and photography, while also making a seemingly “normal movie scene” tense and creepy.
What Peele crafts is a modern day horror-satire, without ever venturing into “spoof movie” territory. The tone and setting of the wealthy suburban neighborhood comes across friendly and warm one minute, to uncomfortable and disgusting the next. When Get Out makes the transition from “Meet The Parents” to creepy satire is the introduction of Roses brother, Jones (Caleb Landry). Jones is a hot-headed stereotypical male with a tough guy complex. Rose’s brother challenges Chris with his knowledge of sports, mainly Mixed Martian Arts. When Chris mentions that the sport is too brutal for his liking, Jones becomes even more defensive, to the point where he attempts to choke Chris out in the middle of family dinner.
After this scene, Get Out goes for it, I mean, it GOES for it. Throughout the narrative, the film slowly begins revealing what Rose’s parents are up to. Not just them, but an entire community of wealthy white Americans, that all have an unsettling interest in Chris. Going more into detail about this revelation would simply ruin the no so expected “big-twist,” the movie reaches for in the final act.
I will say that Daniel Kaluuya is extraordinary as the main protagonist. Kaluuya has a calming presence throughout the story. He’s lived with racism issues his whole life and just responds with “it’s cool,” until it’s not, of course. When Chris’s calming demeanor breaks down and shows signs of anger and distress, Kaluuya goes from “hey isn’t that the guy from Black Mirror,” to holy moly, THAT is an actor. His likable presence with a vast range of acting abilities makes him a pleasure to watch on screen.
Most of the other acting is serviceable, but the standouts among the supporting cast are Bradley Whitford’s overly eccentric and terrifying Dean, and Chris’s best friend, a hilariously and perfectly cast Lil Rel Howery. Whitford chews up the scenery and seems to be having a great time playing the character of Dean. He’s never so sweet that it’s genuine, or so evil that it turns into a parody. It’s a hard line to walk, and Whitford does it with ease.
Howery’s hilarious TSA agent is going to be a fan favorite, that’s almost a certainty. He has just enough screen time to capture the best lines in the movie, having my entire screening in stitches from laughter. His 10 minutes of screen time are funnier than most comedies that have come out in the past decade.
Get Out is not without its flaws, though they are minor. Some of the foreshadowing is very on-the-nose, and the scares come off as rather cheesy at points. However, it’s hard to say that as a negative, when the entire film is a satire. Still, I felt some of the plot holes and loose ends could’ve been tied up more polished in the end.
I would barely call Get Out a horror movie, that’s simply dumbing it down to one particular adjective. This is a risk in modern day cinema, and a damn great one at that. The acting is superb, the themes are timeless and critical to us as the human race, and it’s just an all around fun time at the movies. I highly recommend seeing Get Out, and seeing it with as many people as you can.
Get Out opens February 24th, 2017