Author’s Note: The less you know about Get Out before you see it, the better. This review like all others will be spoiler free, but I encourage you to see the movie first, then come back for the review.
After the first trailer for Get Out, the new film from comedy writer/performer Jordan Peele was released, it was clear that the sketch comedian was creating something totally different from what he has become known for in recent years. With the success of the show Key and Peele, and last years surprise hit, Keanu, it was a surprise to see Peele writing, and directing what looked to be a straight horror movie. Thankfully, Peele’s success continues, as Get Out is a wonderful and intense film, about a man who goes to visit his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. While the initial premise may not seem all that rife for horror trapping, Peele makes quick work establishing that this film is not going to be a lighthearted event. The story follows Chris Washington, played by Daniel Kaluuya, as he travels to upstate New York with his girlfriend, Rose Armitage, played by Allison Williams. Given that the two actors in the lead roles are of two different races plays a big part in the film, and the whole story is a fresh take on the subject matter of race, it won’t resonate the way say Do The Right Thing did, but it is still nice to see the subject matter presented in a new way. Watching the story unravel, as Chris slowly comes to question whether there is more than meets the eye to this town, and this family, is awesome.
To delve into the plot would be giving away too much of the film, and with the many revelations, and surprises, it’s best not to go to into real detail. What works so well about this film, is that the audience gets to experience and uncover the mysteries together. It is clear something is amiss, but there is enough held back with each new piece of information, that you are left to wonder if maybe Chris is simply paranoid, since the character even says at one point, that he gets uncomfortable whenever too many white folks are around, rather than someone uncovering a great conspiracy. The film does a great job with presenting exactly the right pieces of the larger puzzle, at the right time, so by the time the film is finished, you are able to piece together everything that took place, and realize that this is an incredibly well crafted film from start to finish. The film also does a good job of subverting expectations, because though the initial scenes feel more in line with a traditional take on the issue of race, for an interracial couple, the latter portion of the film puts the whole situation into a different perspective.
In addition to having a fantastic story, the cast is also superb, and the actors all do an amazing job in portraying the characters they are given, which make the whole film feel genuine. Kaluuya is the standout, his demeanor throughout is constantly changing, and he is able to convey all of it with the right mix of subtlety and intensity, especially when the film calls for him to drop the quiet and polite boyfriend personality. The moments where he is called upon to show fear and anxiety are wonderful, as his facial acting and his ability to emote, showcase the emotional state the character is in at all times, which add to the feeling of dread he often faces. Allison Williams also does a great job in this film, and her character arc gives her a lot to work with, all of it culminating in a terrific, though more understated performance. The Armitage parents are also great, the father Bradley Whitford is a fun and awkward archetypal dad, and his early scenes with Kaluuya are fun to watch. The mom, played by Catherine Keener, is intimidating, and worrisome throughout, and her scenes keep you on edge, as she is very quiet and stern, a dramatic departure from the personalities of Whitford and Williams characters, something that immediately makes her stand out from the rest of the family. The introduction of the brother Jeremy is the only weak link in the family, as Caleb Landry Jones comes off a little too intense and weird, which doesn’t gel with the tone in the scenes he is introduced in. The best supporting character in the film is definitely Chris’s friend Rod, the TSA agent played by LilRel Howery, who serves as the comic relief in the film. While most comic relief can feel forced in a more intense horror style movie, Howery is a welcome addition, as his scenes not only make story sense, but the character feels right at home in the world that is created. It would not be surprising for this to be a breakout role for Howery, as he was incredibly funny, even in the limited scenes he was featured in.
Enough cannot be said about what an amazing job Jordan Peele did writing and crafting this movie. He created and engaging story, with the right amount of twists and turns, and revealed it all in such a way that keeps the tension going right until the end. This film is also his directorial debut, and the film carries a unique visual style, highlighted by a few different scenes, in particular was his depiction of the hypnosis sessions. The other element that makes this film so wonderful was the score, as the music ebbed and flowed as needed, to create an incredibly anxious, and foreboding mood, that highlighted the story being told.
Get Out serves as a fantastic solo debut for Jordan Peele, and a film that hopefully people will gravitate towards because it is absolutely worth the watch. The film is incredibly intense through its duration, it is well acted, and it will keep you guessing right until the very end.