Get Out (R)

Get Out is Jordan Peele’s feature length solo writing and directorial debut starring Daniel Kaluuya (as Chris) and Allison Williams (as Rose).  It is touted as a “social thriller,” and oh what a social thriller it is.  Get Out tackles some of the problems with America’s “race relations” from a black man’s perspective who is dating a white woman and meeting her family for the first time.

The comedy here comes from two main sources. Rose’s white family and their odd social circle who are super polite toward Chris, but manage to also be quite offensive quite often.  They are not openly crude and/or blatantly racist, but every subtle, offensive comment shows they do not look at this black man as their equal.  It is not only funny, but at times it may feel a bit uncomfortable to watch – which I enjoyed.  Chris’ friend (played by LilRel Howery from The Charmichael Show) acts as his sounding board and “voice of reason” – but in the most hilarious way.

Now the social part. To be clear, from the perspective of a black person living in 2017 America, the “problem,” or should I say a large part of the problem, is that “America” seems to love black people for our gifts, our talents and the swag of or culture, but dooooooesn’t necessarily love black people.  It’s akin to being in an abusive relationship.  All the good stuff is great.  But we (and I use the word “we” loosely because I certainly cannot speak for every black person) don’t feel the love.  We don’t feel celebrated as equals.  We feel disregarded at times.  We feel unsafe. We feel like America loves, values and even covets our gifts, but America doesn’t quite know how to “love” “us.”

As for the horror, Get Out is well written, as Peele draws from many classic horror films (Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The People Under the Stairs (1991), The Stepford Wives (1975), The Shining (1980), and many more), then fuses them with the horrors of Guess Whose Coming to Dinner (1967) in a way that makes it all feel fresh.  Even though he is drawing inspiration from many places, he manages to create something original and unique.  There is not another movie quite like it that I can think of.

The energy of the film lasts all the way through to the end, which is rare in horror these days because many times the last 15 to 20 minutes feel like a throwaway and have ruined many films. There are scares, jumps, suspense and mystery that will keep you guessing about one thing or another as it allows your imagination to roam where you begin to imagine what is next.  Sometimes you’re right.  Sometimes you’re wrong.

The acting is infected by all these little notes of inspiration from these classic movies, in an excellent way. Many scenes, gestures and inflections will bring those movies to mind upon reflection, but somehow in the moment the actors make these homages their own.  The entire cast committed to their roles and also seemed to have had some creative fun with this fresh-feeling material.

I take my hat off to Jordan Peele.  He wrote a meaningful script that is so deep you could examine it for days, but at the same time, it is fun, funny, suspenseful, and something about it rings so true that it is absolutely terrifying to think about.  The tightrope that is walked to create a homogenous blend of real life, horror and humor is nothing short of brilliant.  It is so thoughtfully written, you have to pay constant attention to get the gist of it all; so please do.  And even after paying close and constant attention, you will have a question or two.  And I have to say — BINGO is amazing.

Get Out earned 9 out of 10 bloops.  The deft fusing of classic films without feeling like the movie ripped anything off directly and taking on race as a theme for a horror movie makes Get Out a must-see movie. I would see it again (and I want to because there is just one small thing I didn’t quite understand or I missed that is bothering the heck out of me).  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a horror movie you have to put some thought into.  Get Out has everything you want in a scary movie and then some.  When I say go see it, you will enjoy it, I’m not kidding.  Go see it.  I really think you will enjoy it.

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Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

Notes:

  • Good Ole Boy – Left the box office so fast I missed it.  I’ll review it when it streams if it’s worth it.  I do my best to get to these movies I say I will review, but it doesn’t always work out as planned.

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