Get Out

get-out-movie-poster

Release: Friday, February 24, 2017

[Theater]

Written by: Jordan Peele

Directed by: Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele announces himself as a talent to keep an eye on with his surprisingly enlightening and even more entertaining directorial debut, the horror-comedy Get Out. His first try proves an early candidate for sleeper hit of the year, a film that manages to balance provocative themes, an interesting premise and a handful of solid performances in a way that’s rare even for seasoned filmmakers.

Get Out centers around a young mixed-race couple, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) and Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), who visit the former’s parents for a weekend. While Rose feels they’ve reached that point in their relationship, Chris isn’t sure how her parents are going to respond to him being black. She hasn’t told them because she’s adamant the only thing he needs to worry about is how uncool they are.

When the two arrive, awkwardness wastes no time setting in. Rose’s father Dean (played by a nearly unrecognizable Bradley Whitford) is a neurosurgeon who immediately sets out on a crusade to impress Chris with aggressive politeness and generally overcompensatory behavior. He takes “[his] man” on a tour of the house, making sure to let Chris know he’s not one of those ignorant types. After all, he has great appreciation for Jesse Owens and if he could, he would have voted for a third term for former President Obama.

His wife Missy (Catherine Keener) is a psychiatrist whose hypnotherapy may not come free of charge but it sometimes does without patient consent. I’ve never really liked Catherine Keener, even while acknowledging the knack she has for portraying emotionally unstable weirdos. In Get Out her eccentricity functions as more than a character trait. Missy is actually more a plot device than a character, which isn’t nearly as disappointing as it sounds. Rose has a younger brother too, Caleb Landry Jones’ wild card Jeremy, whose domineering albeit brief presence threatens to undermine the film’s subtle strategizing. He’s a bit harder to take seriously.

As are the numerous black servants on the premises. They’re all so goofy they inadvertently become beacons of comedic relief rather than legitimate concerns. And this is the issue I have with the hybrid genre: knowing which reaction is appropriate can prove frustrating at best. Even if their behavior is intended to be funny, it’s not quite funny enough to be convincing in that way either. I chuckled at a couple of the interactions, particularly with maid Georgina (Betty Gabriel), but felt bad when I did. It was awkward. Luckily there are other instances where the humor succeeds and actually enhances the experience — see Lil Rel Howery as Chris’ security guard friend, for example.

As Chris wanders the grounds snapping photos and asking seemingly innocuous questions of the staff, wafts of institutionalized racism become stronger. It has become evident Chris’ discomfort isn’t just personal. There’s a larger, more sinister dynamic at play, suggested by the servants’ unnatural mannerisms and body language. And the discomfort only grows as more of Rose’s family unexpectedly show up for the reunion she forgot to tell Chris about.

Peele, no stranger to skewering the politically correct in his successful and often controversial Comedy Central sketch show Key & Peele (and whose co-host you can find starring alongside him in 2016’s hit action-comedy Keanu), has found a way to expand his observations about the American society in which we live today into a full-length feature presentation. And he does so without falling back on a blueprint that has treated him very well thus far. He also avoids overtly politicizing his message.

Get Out could have manifested as a series of skits all building toward some unifying theme. It could have been, like Logan to some degree, a specific jab at a specific American president putting into effect specific policies. Instead the fiction is broader, more immune to current political trends. Peele legitimizes his cause with insightful commentary and an effortlessly likable lead — a seriousness of purpose only moderately undercut by a few emotionally confused cues and a truth-revealing climax that doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by the movie that preceded it.

Recommendation: Get Out is a movie that has gotten people talking. It’s going to be one of the surprise hits of the year and the hype is pretty much justified as Jordan Peele very clearly has his finger on the pulse of what not only the typical moviegoer wants to see in their movies, but that of film critics and skeptics as well.

Rated: R

Running Time: 103 mins.

Quoted: “Man, I told you not to go in that house.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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11 thoughts on “Get Out

    • It’s a lot of fun and that’s where i really give it credit. It gives audiences something to chat about excitedly afterwards, it marks a solidly crafted debut for a new filmmaker and it’s all-around entertaining. Hope you enjoy.

  1. In this day and age you’d like to think that the issues raised in this film, i.e race, would not be as necessary as they are. Ho him. Still, at least we get a quality motion picture out of it!

    • You’re right on the money. It’s sad that topics like this are STILL *this* pertinent. More so than ever really. And we really do get a quality movie out of the discussion. Jordan Peele seems to have his finger right on the pulse of some of the more pressing societal issues of our time. Good for him for making this one.

  2. As 2017 gets started, this has emerged for me as one of my favorites. It surprised me. Horror, drama, satire, comedy….it’s a little of everything. I will probably watch it again when it comes to DVD.

    • Jordan Peele has always been clearly talented but I didn’t know he had this in him! I was really skeptical about this, especially the title, which seemed kind of lazy and annoying vague and the trailers weren’t doing the thing any favors but given my fondness for his satire I went anyway and was really glad that I did.

  3. Damn you damn you!! I want to see this so bad, ever since I read about it a few months ago. That sorta comedy you refer to, where you don’t really know what is supposed to be funny, and feel bad if you do laugh…. that’s exactly my sorta humour ;P I didn’t think it was possible, but I am even more amped for this one. Only a two month wait!

  4. This movie was great. Peele did an excellent job of inserting clues throughout, like a piece of Missy’s mother being in the kitchen and the super awkward touching of Chris during the party. The tone worked for me as I found the servants creepy rather than humorous.

    Like you, I am excited to see what comes next from Peele because Get Out was excellent.

    • I guess I was just a little confused as to when to laugh and when to feel afraid. The two elements got kind of confused in some places for me. I couldn’t take Betty Gabriel’s character seriously at all. But for entertainment’s sake, Get Out really does the job. It’s a strong debut and Peele so easily could have made this into a sketch film. Which probably wouldn’t have been bad, either.

  5. This movie is worth a watch just for people to be in on the conversation. I do think it is great, and I will watch again (though not in theaters, loved the crowd interaction but I can do without it the 2nd time), but I share some of your issues, mainly the tone. Wasn’t expecting a real super scary aspect, but the final act just gets a tad too off the rails for me. But still entertaining, and thought provoking.

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