Get Out (2017) – Dir. Jordan Peele.
I wanted to see this one as quickly after release as possible. I’d seen 5* reviews and the 99% (!) rating on rotten tomatoes, and didn’t want to go into this knowing anything more than the general premise. And I’m glad I did!
So, the basic story is as follows – a young interracial couple, Chris & Rose (Daniel Kaluuya & Allison Williams respectively), have been dating for a while and decide it’s time to do family introductions. Chris is reluctant, as he feels that Rose should probably have mentioned that fact that he is black to her parents. Nerves put aside, they road trip up to her parents home for the weekend…only for Chris’ paranoia to return with a vengeance and begin to take hold!
Predictable in places but one of the best nights I’ve had at the cinema in a long time. I genuinely found myself gripping the arms of my seat at moments throughout, and belly laughing at others. Peele gets a chance to show us his already well known comedy chops, but also reveals a more sinister side to his imagination.
There is so much going on in this film in terms of social commentary and racial paranoia that the director admits comes directly from a lot of his own experiences. And, if we think about it – we’ve probably all witnessed it first hand at some point too. That squeamish encounter where someone tries way too hard to be accommodating, only to make the whole situation embarrassing for everyone else involved. And it’s this that Peele really focusses on. As a modern audience, we are very familiar with the portrayal of violent racism and hate crime, but this opens up a whole different issue – which for some reason is never widely addressed.
Bradley Whitford plays on this incredibly well as the father, in a scene when he first meets his daughters new boyfriend. Upon an initial meet and greet he enquires as to how long their ‘thaaang’ has been going on. This kind of interaction may come from a decent place, but in reality, it becomes evident that Chris sees it more as an awareness of the colour of his skin, rather than of simply speaking to him as a person. Subtle (and some not-so-subtle) nuances such as this really make for awkward viewing, as we see Chris politely pretending to go along with it. It works incredibly well as you hear half of the audience nervously laugh and the rest cringe in their seats at these naive interactions.
As we get further and further into the weekend and Chris’ paranoia ramps up, the horror elements really come into play. Michael Abels’ score really helps to set the tone throughout, and as the horror increases, the more the music becomes distorted and hectic. A very simple and effective tool which is largely overlooked in horror as of late, instead, usually put aside for loud noises and simple loud musical cues.
All the performances are fantastic – I really can’t name one bad actor in this film. Kaluuya obviously stands out as the films lead, and Catherine Keener gives an especially great performance as Rose’s mother. Caleb Landry Jones (Xmen: First Class) gives a fine turn as the brother, providing the only hint of a volatile nature to the family home – whilst Lil Rel Howery gives great comic relief.
Great pacing and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the last moments. As I touched upon earlier, some of these are quite formulaic and predictable, but this doesn’t detract from the overall experience. A breath of fresh air to an otherwise dying genre…
I may head to see this a second time, which says a lot considering I already think ticket prices for the cinema are too high! If you haven’t got round to seeing it yet, I fully recommend you do so ASAP. You won’t be disappointed…