Get Out: Film Review
Cast: Daniel Kaluulya, Alison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener
Director: Jordan Peele
White liberal guilt plays a big part in the smart satirical take on social mores from debut director Jordan Peele's box-office bashing, genre-mashing thriller.
Essentially riffing on the Meet The Parents story and the Stepford Wives, Brit actor Kaluulya plays Chris, a young African-American, whose girlfriend Rose (Girls star Alison Williams) takes him to the family estate for a weekend.
Already nervous about what may lie ahead, Chris' unease is further heightened when he arrives on the estate and finds an African-American groundskeeper and an African-American housekeeper. Despite his prospective father-in-law's reassurances that he's aware how it looks, but it's not what it seems, it sets the tone for Chris' weekend.
However, things get more mysterious when an annual event on the estate sees out-of-towners arrive....
To say more about the dread-laced atmospherics of Get Out is to rob the film of the freshness that unfolds along with the unease of atmosphere accompanying it.
There's a reason Peele's subversive and sinister Blumhouse-produced debut has received such acclaim - and it's largely due to the satirical elements within, as well as the clear commentary on the times we live in and how African-Americans are treated both within society and perhaps to a lesser extent, within the Hollywood system.
Tapping into the unease that's currently in America, where movements like Black Lives Matter continue and where tensions continue to grow, despite calls of progression, proves to be fertile ground for Peele, and gives the film a feeling of something more below the surface.
Cultural appropriation is wrapped up within as well - and much like Scream 2's meta take on how African-American actors are treated within Hollywood's horror factory (hint - easily and quickly dispatched by the killer within the opening act), Get Out plays with perceptions with as much ease as it plays with the tropes of the thriller / horror genre.
Unlike most horrors, Get Out deftly manages to spin both a web of unease and atmospherics simultaneously without ever losing sight of what it sets out to do. Along with a modicum of jump scares, as well as some sly humour, Get Out never threatens to topple the house of cards once the reveal comes in - many horrors tease and tantalise, but when the ultimate reveal comes of either who the killer is or what's afoot, the web collapses into a dirth of plot-holes; Get Out never once falls into that trap (even though there are a few narrative conveniences in the final moments).
With an appropriation of one of the mystical elements of Stranger Things to his own twisting, Peele, who wrote and directed Get Out, has created a film that feels both contemporary, satirically smart and timeless. Whether that's more a sad indictment and damnation of what the film has to say about the treatment of African-Americans is certainly up for debate.
But what's not really up for debate is how inherently smart and devilishly taut, the clever Get Out is.
From its whip-smart writing (Bradley Whitford's patriarch more than adds creepiness into the idea that he would have voted for Obama for a third time if he could and adds unease into revealing his feelings that owning African-American house workers "is such a cliche"), to its incredible sound-scape, Peele's debut captures and subverts the conventions terrifically as the story plays out.
It's best to know little about this film going on, as the less you know, the more it grabs you in its vice-like grip - and its take on 21st century liberalism may leave you a little rocked and disturbed when the lights ultimately go up. Awkwardness and avant-garde approaches to the genre and the general terror of the story's unspooling make Get Out an at times, queasily paranoid watch.
However, you'd do wisely to believe the hype, as this is one of 2017's best and smartest films - and as such, it's more than worth at least one visit to the cinema - if not more.