A young African American man visits his European American girlfriend’s family estate where he learns that many of its residents, who are black, have gone missing, and he soon learns the horrible truth when another frantic African-American warns him to “get out”. He soon learns this is easier said than done.
Review Get Out
Review Get Out
Jordan Peele is primarily known for funny business. After last year’s “Keanu,” perhaps there’s no recent evidence of it, but Peele is best known as half of “Key & Peele,” which became a popular sketch show for Comedy Central after debuting in 2012. While former partner Keegan-Michael Key is out there taking every role that comes his way, Peele has remained choosy, focusing on building a directorial career. Like many first-time helmers, Peele has selected the horror genre to introduce himself to audiences, but “Get Out” isn’t your typical shocker. It’s a far more sinister and slapstick, combining a real love of chillers with racial commentary and broad jesting. Peele is laboring to make an audience-pleasing nightmare with “Get Out,” and it’s a successful endeavor, but not overwhelmingly so, with iffy taste and timing of humor disturbing the hypnotic spell it’s itching to cast.
After five months romancing Rose (Allison Williams), Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is about to meet her family. Unsure how the white household will react to a black boyfriend, Chris proceeds with caution, quickly welcomed into the luxurious home of top surgeon Dean (Bradley Whitford) and hypnotherapist Missy (Catherine Keener). Hoping to get comfortable, Chris is instead exposed to odd sights around the house, including curious behavior from housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson). Pulled into Missy’s powers of hypnosis as she probes into past trauma to get him to stop smoking, Chris is put on edge, soon exposed to local residents, who act cautiously around the new face in town. Sensing something is not right, Chris struggles to clarify the threat, while his buddy, TSA Agent Rod (Lil Rel Howery), suspects the worst when he loses contact with his friend, commencing his own investigation into a possible disappearance.
“Get Out” updates the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” premise for a modern age, though the same old concerns about acceptance and tolerance remain, with Chris openly unnerved by the prospect of meeting Rose’s WASPy parents, who have no idea her boyfriend is black. Peele (who scripts and directs, but does not appear in the film) has plenty to share about such an anxious event, but his heart remains with horror, commencing the picture with a disturbing meeting between a young black man trying to find an address in an upscale neighborhood, and a shadowy car containing passengers who aren’t about to let him get away. It’s a shocker right off the bat, and an intriguing way to introduce “Get Out,” which doesn’t return to overt scares for over an hour, instead stroking the racial tension aspects of the screenplay.
“Get Out” is built for academic inspection, with Chris’s use of cotton to save his bacon during one pivotal scene sure to launch thousands of online thinkpieces and college essays. Peele concentrates intently on skin color, beginning with an interracial relationship about to be exposed to potential in-laws, and ending up with Chris garnering attention at a community gathering, where the young photographer meets with strangely detached, older residents with old-fashioned opinions on black culture. Chris eventually comes into contact with Andrew (Keith Stanfield), an unsettlingly calm African-American man who’s attached to his much older white partner, and has a strange reaction to a camera flash, cracking the veneer of stability that tempts and threatens Chris. There’s plenty more to “Get Out,” but much of it is built deep within spoiler territory. However, it’s safe to say that Peele has a terrific eye for horror filmmaking, keeping the picture polished and impeccably composed, while his leadership in sound and performance is equally impressive, with Kaluuya capably carrying the feature.
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