Get Out

 

 

 

Jordan Peele is one half of a television comedy duo with Keegan-Michael Key and he has turned his hand to directing with his debut feature film GET OUT.  Now a low budget movie (around $6 million) filmed over 28 days and helmed by a novice director working from his own script would normally not be considered a strong contender for success.

 

Well this certainly proves the exception to that rule.  At time of writing this has so far netted $224 million at the global box office and shows no signs of slowing yet.  This slick blend of horror and American race relations satire is a remarkable and unsettling film. An edge-of-your-seat thriller that manages to inject broad humor and social commentary and builds the tension with a slow burn until its cathartic and violent finale.

 

Chris (British actor Daniel Kaluuya in a breakthrough role) is an African-American photographer from NYC and has been invited by his white girlfriend to spend the weekend at her parent’s home upstate.  “Do they know I’m black?” Chris asks Rose who replies in the negative.  She assures him that his race is irrelevant as her parent’s are dyed-in-the-wool liberals and accepting and tolerant to the max.  “My father would have voted for Obama for a third time if he could” she tells Chris.

 

They arrive at a lovely (and of course- secluded) country home and Rose’s parents appear exactly as warm and welcoming as she had forecast.  Her father Dean (Bradley Whitford) is a neurosurgeon and her mother Missy (the great Catherine Keener) is a clinical psychologist specializing in hypnotherapy.  Despite the surface conviviality and jocularity, Chris senses something is a tad awry and his misgivings accelerate when he meets Rose’s brother Jeremy whose grip on reality is tenuous indeed.  But of more concern to Chris is the fact that the only other blacks present are a gardener/ grounds-man named Walter and a maid, Georgina.  Their behavior and expressions are clearly not normal. They appear like automatons with glazed smiles pasted beneath eyes that flash occasional terror and fear.  As it happens, Chris and Rose have arrived on a weekend when her parents are hosting a garden party for 50 family members and close friends and it is this particular scene that sees Peele cleverly marry mirth that squirms with satire and a growing unease and dread.

 

From this point it is difficult to comment further without lashings of spoilers so suffice to say that GET OUT is a stunning debut picture and quite unique in many ways.

 

The introductory element of the plot at first almost appears to mirror GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER with its scenario of a mixed race couple visiting the white girl’s affluent, educated and liberal parents in their opulent abode, but any similarity to the gentle 1967 film that was Spencer Tracy’s swansong vanishes swiftly and we enter territory more redolent of THE STEPFORD WIVES or ROSEMARY’S BABY.

 

The acting from all cast members was strong but Bradley Whitford with three Golden Globe nominations under his belt from his stint on THE WEST WING and Catherine Keener with two Oscar nominations, were impeccable.  I was relatively unaware of Daniel Kaluuya’s thespian history other than recalling him from 2015’s excellent SICARIO, but you can absolutely bet that he will be in demand after this effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 





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