Until recently, you might have only known Jordan Peele as one half of the acclaimed sketch duo Key & Peele. But with the release of his critically revered suspense-thriller “Get Out,” the comic has successfully landed himself in the director’s chair, with a film that is being lauded not only for the gripping ride in which it takes its audiences, but also for the social commentary it makes without ever sacrificing a story beat to make a point.
“Get Out” is the story of Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black photographer embarking on a weekend trip to the country in order to meet his girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Allison Williams) parents for the first time. From the bad omen of hitting a deer on their trip to the eerie vibes emanating from the Armitage’s all-black help and the dozens of geriatric white people attending the weekend’s annual “shindig,” the film does a stellar job of creating that feeling that something’s just not right – both for the audience and for Chris.
To delve further into the film’s winding yet coherent plot would mean ruining most of the fun, and so, for a synopsis, I’d recommend nothing short of simply watching the movie. However, what is worth discussing is the film’s cast, a perfect match of complementary talents consisting of Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener as Rose’s more-than-meets-the-eye parents, Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel as the suspicious servants, Lil Rel Howery as a riotous dose of comic relief as Chris’s best friend Rod Williams, among others. So many thrillers in this vein are killed by subpar acting, and yet “Get Out” is completely brought to life by its performances.
What seems to be the real star of the show here, though, is Jordan Peele’s work as a writer and director. The script of “Get Out” is so intricate and yet so simple, rife with uneasiness, intrigue, humor, twists and poignancy, all in equal parts. It even brings to mind “Shutter Island,” but only in the sense of being a different watch the second time around, making you pick up on minor details in a new light.
While “Get Out” has certainly received its fair share of well-deserved buzz for being a good film, it seems to be receiving even more buzz for the social commentary and satire that it’s brimming with. Articles in publications far and wide have been written on the movie’s points on America’s current racial tensions, subtle-yet-pervasive stereotypes, the roles black people are unfairly expected to play and everything in between. And, while all of those themes and more will certainly come up during any in-depth discussion of the film, “Get Out” still never feels like an op-ed.
So, does “Get Out” live up to the hype? I think the true answer is, “kind of” – with the blame for the discrepancy falling on the extremity of the praise, and not the execution of the film. “Get Out” is well-done; it’s a fun, enthralling, entertaining-from-start-to-finish piece of cinema that whole-heartedly deserves an hour and 45-minutes of your time, but perhaps not a spot at the Oscars.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars