“Get Out, is a documentary” – Jordan Peele
Contains minor spoilers, go watch the movie if you haven’t and come back if you’re so damn worried about it..
In 2017 it’s hard to be too frightened or shaken up by a movie, when you compare it to the real life horror taking place in the good old USA these days. But Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is no mere genre embracing, formulaic walk in the darker parts of your mind. The film, equal parts horror, psychological thriller, cultural commentary and yes, at times, comedy, is an edge of your seat, corners of you psyche, genre bending roller coaster ride of suspense and it may be one of the best movies of the year.
The film starts off with a jarring kidnap scene which isn’t explained in the film until later, as we move to a scene that could be a rework of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, we meet Rose (Allison Williams) who is preparing to take her boyfriend, an African-American photographer named Chirs (played brilliantly by English actor Daniel Kaluuya) to her parents (Catherine Keener & Bradley Whitford) remote estate for a visit. At first the couple seems to be a perfect example of well off, NPR listening, open minded liberals. He is a neurosurgeon, she is a psychiatrist. A closer looks shows things are just a bit off kilter. The staff in the house, a black maid and caretaker have vacant stares and seem almost zombie like, except for an occasional tear that drips down their faces.
Rose’s father, Dean, shows Chris around while bemoaning the racist state of the nation, all the while peppering the conversation with “my man” and “know what I am sayin”,which is chalked up at the moment to well intentioned cultural appropriation.
Rose’s brother, Jeremy, played with intense creepiness by Caleb Landry Jones is obviously evaluating Chris physically, over a seemingly playful after dinner hang at the dinner table. The next day at a party hosted by the parents, the guest list is particularly weird. People seem to be wanting to talk to Chris, see what he is about and in some cases actually touch him, they grab his arm to see how strong it is.
Seeing another black man at the party, Chris approaches him and is greeted warming, but still just a little strangely, the man has that vacant look in his eye, a man in his twenties, and he’s with a woman approaching sixty. Not a sin by any means but something just doesn’t look right. When the couple is called to visit with other guests the man is unable to execute a fist bump.
The party as it turns out, is an auction, and the item on sale is Chris.
Later that night, Rose’s mother hypnotizes Chris and creates the trigger that put’s Chris into the nightmare situation.
I won’t spoil any more of the plot, but the thriller aspect of the film is as executed masterfully as Hitchcock.
The movie is very often hilariously funny, especially as Chris’s friend Rod (LilRel Howery), a TSA agent, figures out the danger Chris is in and tries to intervene throughout.
The movie turns racial roles in suspense movies on their heads, and makes social commentary of race, class, gender, and even takes a jab at will intentioned liberalism which can result in a softer racism.
There is a lot in this movie, and told from a uniquely black perspective, it gives a well established genre a long needed kick in the ass. One of the year’s best.