A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
DIRECTOR: Jordan Peele
WRITER: Jordan Peele
PRODUCERS: Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward. H. Hamm Jr, Jordan Peele
INITIAL RELEASE: February 24, 2017
RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes
STARRING: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener
Jordan Peele is one of the funniest people alive right now. Alongside long-time comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key, Peele has been responsible fro some truly amazing and glorious comedy sketches and skits while working on Key & Peele, as well as the often overlooked and underrated action comedy Keanu, which he starred in alongside Key. But Get Out represented seemingly uncharted territory for Peele, both as him flying solo minus Key, and as a triple threat of writer, director, and producer. Well, its more or less academic at this point that Peele has some insane talent, and Get Out’s overwhelming box office success means that there’s gonna be plenty more features on the horizon for Jordan Peele. But does Get Out really deserve all the success and praise that’s been heaped on it since its release earlier this year.
Yes, yes it does. Duh. But, you haven’t heard me ramble on about how great Get Out is yet, so allow me to do so many months late.
Get Out follows Chris (Kaluuya), a black photographer whose white girlfriend Rose (Williams) is taking him out to the sticks to meet her wealthy, well-to-do parents. The twist? They don’t know Chris is black, and he’s a little nervous about how they’ll react. Luckily, everything turns out fine, Chris has a lovely weekend, then goes home to his adorable dog and- none of that happens, that would just be super boring.
Get Out was a very unique experience for me, refreshingly unique in fact. Though its overall aesthetic wears the skin of a horror film, genre markers and all, Get Out isn’t really a particularly scary film in the conventional sense. Rather, Jordan Peele has masterfully crafted Get Out as a bizarre and at times highly surrealistic satire of a particular and specific strain of anxiety of the black American experience that ties into an even more specific strain of racism that is expertly hung on a very well crafted horror framework. I would love to go into detail about just how wonderfully bonkers Get Out actually gets by its end, but I also feel like it’s a film best experienced completely blind.
From just a scripting standpoint alone, Get Out is an immaculately crafted and tight film. Every element works in tandem like a well-oiled machine, with everything being established and set up incredibly well with subtle touches. Every creative choice, every line of dialogue, and every shot feel very deliberate and finely tuned. There’s some particularly wonderful and clever uses of imagery for some really great moments of visual symbolism and visual gags that are sometimes so subtle you can easily miss them if you’re not paying attention, but are insanely satisfying if you do catch them. Much like with Colossal, it was a joy to watch something like Get Out where its creator has such a clear and mannered vision that they can articulate so well on screen.
Tonally, Get Out walks a curious yet somehow incredibly well balanced tightrope of the surreally creepy and completely hilarious. Though I wouldn’t strictly call Get Out an out and out comedy, it does have a load of genuinely hilarious moments that somehow manage to gel incredibly well with the film’s darker moments. It’s a particular brand of funny that I personally also really love, the kind that just emerges organically from the way characters interact, as opposed to more deliberately constructed jokes. Almost of the film’s amazingly funny moments come courtesy of Chris’ pal and zealous TSA agent Rod (Howery) who again, despite being a really goofy character giving an equally goofy performance, still manages to somehow be believable in the context of the film. At the same time, Get Out is a consistently surreally creepy and unsettling experience from start to finish. Peele’s direction shows a wonderful eye for suspense and tension building through every aspect on mise en scene, and Get Out is loaded with scenes, shots, and imagery of the kind that really sticks with you long after you’ve left the theatre.
Get Out is also loaded with strong performances from just about everyone in the cast. Obviously I already mentioned how great Howery was, but I also have to commend Allison Williams on giving what I would argue was the most effective and fantastic performance in the entire film, for reasons which I can’t necessarily reveal here, but trust me when I say that it’s a definite highlight. I would be remiss not to mention the incredibly strong performance from Kaluuya as Chris, and also Caleb Landry Jones as well, whose performance is at times almost too effective for what it is.
Its been a pleasant surprise to see so many movies of late that are truly unique experiences to behold, and Get Out is nothing if not that. Jordan Peele’s cinematic debut is a finely tuned and masterful little piece of satire that is dauntless and unflinching in depicting some pretty uncomfortable subject matter in a way that makes it far more enjoyable than it has any right to be. Get Out is definitely worth your time if you’re looking for something delightfully and refreshingly different at the cinemas.