Get Out – Film Review by Emily Elphinstone
Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford
After premiering at Sundance to critical acclaim, Get Out is finally hitting the cinemas. Hype or no hype, it is refreshingly difficult to predict; making for a fantastically gripping thriller.
As photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) prepares for a weekend away to meet the parents of his white girlfriend Rose (Girls’ Allison Williams), his questions as to whether they know he is black are met with derision. But from a policeman’s suspicion en-route, to her father’s proud assertion that he ‘would’ve voted Obama in for a third term’, it is clear that though racism may ostensibly be gone in liberal middle-America, skin colour remains an issue. And it is not just Missy (Catherine Keener) and Dean (Bradley Whitford) Armitage’s overly welcoming reception of their daughter’s boyfriend that put Chris on edge; but also the haunting presence of black servants Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and Walter (Marcus Henderson.) Not only are they the only people of colour in the affluent and secluded neighbourhood; they also share a zombie-like subservience that jars, for Chris, with the family’s enthusiasm. With repeated suggestions of hypnosis for his smoking from Missy, and creepy late night encounters with the servants, Chris quickly feels on edge. But it is only after the family’s very ‘affluent white liberal’ party, where the only black guest Andre (Lakeith Stanfield) seems equally off-key; that things quickly begin to escalate.
Written and Directed by Jordan Peele (best known for sketch-comedy series Key and Peele) Get Out seamlessly blends psychological thriller and comedy, before plunging into full horror at the film’s climax. However, with a slow-building sense of foreboding primarily focused on the seemingly casual allusions to Chris’s skin colour and physical attributes; the film never seems over complicated or forced. In fact, the relief of comic interludes, primarily from contact with Chris’s best friend Rod (LilRel Howery) only serve to further the audience’s questioning of what darker purpose may lie behind the Armitage’s warm welcome. Kaluuya plays the central ‘everyman’ role with powerfully downplayed expression, and he shares great chemistry with Williams, and the increasingly sinister in-laws. Get Out may move into heightened reality as it morphs into the sort of survival horror one may expect as a Blumhouse film, but this never feels forced; making Jordan Peele’s directorial debut a remarkably confident and compelling must see.