A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.
Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Stephen Root, Caleb Landry Jones
Rated: R (violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references)
By Cole Schneider
After it opens, “Get Out” blares Childish Gambino’s soulful hit “Redbone”, announcing that the film will be playing in that same titular caramel-area between black and white as well as the same playful coupling of horror-tropes and #ExistingWhileBlack that Gambino’s album expressed.
“Get Out” goes on to probe the existential horror of being black with a keen, twisted sense of observation. The horror-comedy genre has seen plenty of successes and failures, and it’s easy to note that the most successful films aren’t built on jokes or non-sequiturs, but rather by allowing a specific cultural reality to exist in a cliché-filled setting that lays bare the ironic nature of its existence.
“Get Out” follows its dark-skinned protagonist Chris on a weekend trip to meet his white girlfriend’s parents. She’s a full-fledged Becky with good hair who’s both naïve and sympathetic to the difficulties of the black experience. When a cop asks for Chris’ I.D. even though he wasn’t driving, she stands up for him despite his familiarity-bred ambivalence.
Her parents are also racially sensitive; these aren’t KKK members. What makes the satire work, in fact, is that they would all be ‘good guys’ in any other movie. Characterizing much of the film’s satire, her dad explains to Chris he ‘would’ve voted for Obama a third time if he could’. As they try so hard to relate to Chris and to make sure he knows they’re okay with him being black he feels more and more alienated.
To push any further would risk spoiling some of the treats “Get Out” has for you, but know that there aren’t many movies this serious about their subject matter while also delivering these entertainment goods.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
By Matt Greene
For some, there’s really nothing more terrifying than a gaggle of well-to-do and overly polite white people. In Get Out (or “Guess Who’s Coming Dinner…And Possibly Never Leaving”), comedian-turned-director Peele makes this abundantly clear, reminding us that racism often doesn’t show up in outwardly obvious hatred, but in an insidious need to understand and control “the other”. With breathtaking moments of social adeptness (Kaluuya’s dealings with cops), terrifying realizations, hilarious satire and even some Django-esque wish-fulfilment, Get Out is as refreshingly thoughtful as it is enveloping.
Chris (Kaluuya) , a young black photographer, is going on a trip with his white girlfriend (Williams) to meet her parents (Keener, Whitford). As the weekend unfolds, Chris becomes increasingly concerned about the intentions and history of his hosts. Kaluuya is great, leading with empathetic concerned but always present, and he’s supported by some truly amazing actors and characters.
Brilliantly written and executed, all confusions & questions are answered without being exposited. What’s really fascinating though is this is the type of twist-inclined horror that Shyamalan (Sixth Sense) would drool over. However, the reveal is barely the point. Instead the focus is on straight-up weirdness in visuals and ideas that slow-burn from a calmly paced suspense drama into a raucous and insane mind-trip.
It’s such a confident debut for Peele in the director’s seat: the editing and storytelling are clear, the visuals are striking but not obnoxious, the music is ominously perfect. He’s clearly studied the masters (Lynch, Cronenberg, Hitchcock) and learned to allow his audience to be perplexed by while simultaneously sucking us right in. With this and Split, it’s already looking to be a great year for horror.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars