THE STORY – Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.
THE CAST – Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Lil Rel Howery & Keith Stanfield
THE TEAM – Jordan Peele (Director/Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME – 103 Minutes
By Matt N.
While Keegan Michael-Key is enjoying a life beyond “Key And Peele” taking every role he is offered in Hollywood, we have not seen much of his co-star, Jordan Peele. That’s because he’s been putting together his directorial debut feature film (Which he also wrote, but does not star in) called “Get Out.” Although not perfect, it’s a strong first-time effort from Mr. Peele that is surprisingly thought-provoking and knows how to manipulate its audience to maximum effect. “Get Out” is a horror film mixed with comedy, mixed with some of the most entertaining takes on race within film since “Django Unchained.”
Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a black man, has been dating his white girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) for five months. They have now reached the stage of their relationship where it is time for Chris to meet Rose’s wealthy parents (Bradley Whitford & Catherine Keener) in the countryside, who do not know he is black. Overly polite and proper, perhaps due to nervousness, Chris shrugs off as much as he can during the nerve-wracking weekend until he starts to realize that something is not right regarding the other black people on the Armitage’s property. The family has employed two black servants named Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and Walter (Marcus Henderson) for years and it’s their demeanor that pushes Chris over to edge, along with his friend, TSA agent Rod Williamson (Lil Rey Howery), to investigate what exactly is going on with black people that visit the Armitage’s land.
“Get Out” mixes the horror genre with the comedy genre to maximum effect for its audience. Not to say this will apply for all, but my own personal theater experience was one of the most enjoyable I have had in quite some time due to the amount of emotional investment there was from the audience. Moments of yelling, laughter, cheering and clapping were all part of the experience that is “Get Out” and writer/director Jordan Peele certainly has a firm grasp on how he wants this story of racial prejudice to be told. There is one moment in particular regarding pieces of cotton which is one of many examples that shows the brilliance of Peele’s writing. Other choices of diction and situational humor abound but they do not take away from the laughs either. “Get Out” is extremely funny in parts due to how outrageous and downright weird it is. Peele constantly keeps us on edge, making us wonder when the jump scares are coming and shows a tremendous amount of restraint for the first hour of this film. Once the film reaches its climax, it becomes a wild, dark and twisted ride full of shocking moments of gore, horror and yes, still loads of comedy.
Performances and tone are a tad bit uneven in “Get Out” regardless of how much it appears I am praising it. That’s because, in the moments where “Get Out” works, it really works. Taken on their own, there are many scenes and gags which are either very scary, uncomfortable or funny. Take for example, Chris’s TSA friend Rod Williams. He has some of the funniest moments in the film but they are watered down due to nonsensical cursing meant to illicit laughs which felt a bit cheap considering this is a film filled with a lot of subtext and symbolism. Every performance in the film is campy to a certain degree which will either work for people or won’t. Daniel Kaluuya leads the film very well, with his scene opposite Catherine Keener involving hypnosis, being his high point. Bradley Whitford, Allison Williams, Caleb Landry Jones, Keith Stanfield, Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson all round out the film with what adds up to ultimately one of the most surprisingly effective ensembles I have seen this year so far.
“Get Out” is surprisingly rich with its racial commentary and effective in its genre tropes. It certainly got my audience on their feet by the end, especially with one moment involving a police vehicle that had everyone gasping. It’s amazing how Peele was able to take what is essentially a retelling of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” and twist its story for a 2017 audience. That same audience has some very real fears today in terms of racism, both white and black, yet Peele is able to inject his well-known humor into the proceedings to create what could one day be considered a cult classic.
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – Thoughtful social commentary. Plays with its audience in very fun and dark ways.
THE BAD – Tonally off in some areas and Peele’s effort, although confident, shows the weakness of a first time director.
THE FINAL SCORE – 7/10