Movie Review: ‘GET OUT’ (2017) – An Unexpected Thriller That Keeps You Guessing Until The End
As I usually preface every ‘horror’ Movie Review by disclaiming that I am not a horror genre fan, I feel that I can skip that today. Simply because ‘Get Out’ is not at all a horror movie, but more a film that messes with the traditional counter programming genres of what audiences can expect from a movie like this.
‘Get Out’ acts wonderfully as a movie where the audiences can’t know what to expect until the final scene!
It’s difficult to talk about ‘Get Out’ without referencing other films, or tropes. But that’s where the genius of the movie lies, in its assimilation of typical storytelling conventions, but then flipping them on their head in unexpected ways.
The premise of the movie is similar to movies like 1967’s ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner’ with Sidney Poitier. The Caucasian Rose (Allison Williams) is taking her African-American boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) home to meet her parents for the first time, and the couple are expecting racial awkwardness, despite Rose assuring Chris that her parents aren’t racist. Sure. That’s what they all say. And this premise gets even more exciting when you realize that Rose’s parents are being played by Bradley Whitford (‘The West Wing’) and Catherine Keener. (‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’)
While one would expect this kind of a premise to be dealing with the real life racial climate in the world today, the story is not something anyone can see coming. The events that occur after Chris gets to Rose’s parents house is insanely unexpected and something that even the most ardent of cinephiles won’t be expecting. And ‘Get Out’ works for this very reason; the fact that it’s difficult to peg down exactly what kind of story this is, or what’s happening. Even the most cynical of us film-goers will be unable to figure out where the story is going until it’s too late.
Jordan Peele (of ‘Key & Peele’ fame) makes his feature film debut as a writer / director with ‘Get Out’, and its one of the significant debuts in a long time. Peele shows an incredible understanding of storytelling, hitting all the right beats of tensions in scenes, chemistry between actors, and being able to get his actors to deliver exactly the right amount of ambigious creepiness that calls for the scene.
Peele is able to blend the perfect mix of socially relevant allegory with familiar film tropes to create a story that is truly unique.
In all fairness, in the hands of any other director, ‘Get Out’ could have ended up as a totally different movie. While the film has scary aspects to it, it’s not a horror. There are definitely elements of suspense and mystery, but they’re done so subtly and seamlessly, that one never feels the moment is being milked unnecessarily. This is an all out thriller film. And despite what you may have heard in the media, this isn’t a crusade against white people, nor does it preach a message against racism. While the movie definitely does act an an allegory to the sensibilities of minorities, it’s the typical awkwardness that in other films are exploited for comedy. But Peele genuinely attempts to convey at times the innocuous, but still uncomfortable, nature of interactions between everyday people. (The people in this movie are far from ‘everyday’) Peele is able to blend the perfect mix of socially relevant allegory with familiar film tropes to create a story that is truly unique.
Kaluuya is a great actor, never going over the top, but still able to convey dread and the anxiety that comes with a role like this. After ‘Get Out’, Kaluuya is a talent to definitely watch out for going forward. Williams is just as great, and matches Kaluuya step by step. The more veteran actors in this are Whitford and Keener. Whitford is amazing as he tries to do everything to avoid being the typically awkward white dad, but still somehow pulling it off with a likeable charm. Keener steals the show in almost every scene as a character who is the most self aware of the events surrounding the story. She is the only character that betrays a sense of… odd-ness. A notable mention needs to go to Caleb Landry Jones (‘X-Men: First Class’) as Rose’s aggressive and confrontational brother.
‘Get Out’ is an unexpectedly shocking and immersive movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat, literally from beginning to end.