So I watched Get Out…
Experiencing true shock while watching a movie is a feeling you often don’t feel anymore in modern cinema. The marketing of a film – even if you’re just a casual movie-goer – gives away far too much nowadays. That’s why I loved watching this film, it truly is an excellent piece of film but its true quality lies in how surprising its plot is.
Okay, basic plot: Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) takes a trip – along with this girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) – to the country estate of Rose’s parents who Chris is meeting for the first time. Chris is apprehensive about the trip as Rose – a white woman – has not told her parents that Chris is black. Rose assures Chris that he has nothing to worry about as her parents – Dean and Missy (Bradley Whitford and Katherine Keener) – are extremely liberal and will have no problem with Chris’s race. Although welcoming, Chris senses something strange about the Armitages. Chief amongst these is their strange relationship with their black servants. Chris’s paranoia about the trip turns into solemn realisation as he uncovers the shocking truth about the family.
This film truly shocked me. From its trailer and general marketing, you get the sense that you’re going to walk into a thriller/horror movie and while I would classify this film as terrifying, it’s terrifying in ways you wouldn’t expect. It’s so difficult to praise this movie because in order to highlight its brilliance I’d have to venture into the territory of spoilers. Let me just say that when you walk in, you expect to see a film where the foundation of your fear will be built on blood and gore and instead you’re treated to a film where your fear stems from the shocking realisation of the discordance in black and white relations. This film is most scariest when it displays the awkward and ignorant interactions that white people think are appropriate when addressing people of colour.
I have to applaud Jordan Peele for his work on this film. I always love it when a director of a film also serves as its writer. There’s a deeper understanding and better execution of the vision which I feel is often lacking when a director isn’t involved in crafting the script. I haven’t really seen too much of Peele’s work, save for a cameo on a TV show or random clips from his skit show Key & Peele; but after watching Get Out I’m definitely going to pay more attention when I see his name mentioned in a project. There’s an insight and clarity in his script that I loved. This film reminded me a lot of Gone Girl – full of twists, genuine moments of shock and a beautiful examination of current (albeit exaggerated) reality. Jordan Peele does a fantastic job and I can already say that Get Out will find its way on to my list of Best Movies of 2017.
Now – as I always say – a great script and director are fantastic but fall flat without actors to bring things to life. Daniel Kaluuya is immense in this role. He brings the character of Chris to life beautifully. I think every person of colour can relate to the experiences that Kaluuya’s character – Chris – goes through. Even the most well-meaning white people often make the mistakes that The Armitages do in this film. Obviously not to this extent but like I said, the scariest moments of this film are at the times when the film is not a traditional horror. I also have to praise Allison Williams for her stunning turn as Rose. There’s a duplicity and inherent deception to the character of Rose which is brilliant. She’s oblivious to the strange behaviour of her family but also somewhat complicit in perpetuating this behaviour. It’s lovely to see and Williams provides the film’s standout performance.
I can’t point to a particular problem I had with Get Out. Yes, there are moments when the film feels sluggish and drawn out but this is necessary in order to build the suspense and emphasise the tension in the story. If I’m going to nitpick, I felt the ending of the film was rather tepid in contrast to the preceding story. The film ends with a whimper when the events that led to it where a thunderous roar.
Overall, Get Out is a fantastic piece of cinema and an incredibly relevant piece of art in terms of the social and political environment we live in. I don’t think enough people – certainly in my part of the world – watched this film because it addresses a few issues that definitely require discussion. Its cinematic run might be over but I truly recommend you seeing this film. 7/10