If there was a film more relevant to the social politics of 2017, I’d be very surprised.
Get Out, Jordan Peele’s (Keanu, Key and Peele) feature directorial debut, follows the story of African-American Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), who performs every boyfriend’s eventual terrifying duty of meeting their partner’s parents. The film’s opening moments reveal that Chris’ Caucasian partner Rose (Allison Williams) hasn’t told her parents about the interracial nature of their relationship. Chris and Rose arrive to the illusive estate of her parents, Dean and Missy (Catherine Keener & Bradley Whitford), and awkward interactions ensue.
The Armitage family’s unnatural reactions to Chris’ race suddenly act as the force that stops Chris and the audience from feeling calm. “I would have voted for Obama for a third term if I could,” says the wide-eyed Mr. Armitage, naively expecting this generic statement to somehow make Chris feel at-home, purely because of the shared pigmentation. Alongside the subtle prejudice surrounding him, the mysterious presence of fellow people-of-colour and terrifying hypnotic episodes make Chris’ stay one he’d rather forget, and this original, hilarious and terrifying thriller-comedy one to remember for a long time.
Particularly brilliant here are the performances. Peele manages to find a perfect balance between caricature and reality with cleverly written characters that draw empathy as much as they demand hilarity. Kaluuya, previously seen in Black Mirror, is fantastically humble as Chris, drawing so much audience respect and support that cheers were heard for his moves in the latter half. Equally deserving of Praise are those making up the Armitage family, all performed in talented duality as both believable family members and not-so-subtle reflections of modern racism in Western society.
If there is what some may consider a slight flaw, it’s the occasionally jarring contrast between thriller and comedy. An issue that is difficult to avoid in a genre hybrid such as this, but one that could prove unsettling for audiences accustomed to more conventional genre films. The blending of genre and commentary, however, is what makes Get Out so genius. It doesn’t simply discuss race whilst entertaining as a thriller-comedy, the film lays the issue of race as the foundation on which the thrills and laughs build.
The tightly paced, expertly scored film is one that makes every scene and moment count. No time feels wasted, and no character feels underdeveloped. Each twist and development genuinely surprises like no recent blockbusters have, and the audience is left horrified, unable to look away as the true meaning behind Chris and Rose’s visit slowly creeps up on them.
If you, like so many, feel let down by the offerings of 2017 thus far, or are looking for something refreshing and original to witness at the cinema, you should be rushing to see Get Out. The film acts as both brilliant social commentary and an expertly crafted ride into the creepy and horrifying. I have no doubt: years from now, Get Out will be looked upon as a classic.
THE REEL SCORE: 9/10