#REVIEW: “GET OUT”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
The trailer for Get Out debuted this past October, and I was at a loss for words after watching it. Was this an actual Feature Film, or some slickly-made prank? Who would bankroll such an audacious and wild vision? I looked into it further and discovered the Film was quite real and was the deranged product of comedian Jordan Peele. But despite my fondness for Key and Peele and being one of the fifteen people who actually watched Keanu in the theatre last year, I was skeptical that he could deliver on such an outrageous premise.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Alison Williams) are preparing to visit her parents’ estate in upstate New York. Their relationship has gotten serious, but Chris is worried about the reaction Rose’s white parents will have finding out he’s black. Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener) are warm and welcoming, but Chris still feels very uneasy in their home. And when he starts to notice strange things around the house, he begins to think something more sinister may be taking place.
For a Feature directorial debut, Peele knocks Get Out right out of the park. He merges Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? with horror tropes to create a contemporary suburban nightmare. The Film feeds off of the racist paranoia and politics that define the black experience in white America, making it all the more ridiculously relevant. He digs in deep with the biting satire, forcing us to watch and be entertained by asinine white characters delivering every stereotype you can imagine – and then some. Some of these moments are genuinely hilarious, but others are downright disturbing in how authentic they are. It gets very silly and heavy-handed in the third act, but Peele still manages to keep your eyes gripped on the screen from the first frame to the very last.
While I jumped in my seat a handful of times, the most horrific part of the Film is watching people in their mid-20s use Microsoft Bing as their search engine of choice. I know the Film has some unsubtle Microsoft product placement, but are we really to believe anyone who actively uses the Internet would ever use Bing?
Nitpicking aside, the only real area where Peele stumbles is in his characters’ development. Get Out’s story is more about theme than characters, so it is not at all surprising to see no one really evolve during the Movie. Yes, there is a late second act turn that changes specific circumstances, but there is little motivation given for so many of the Film’s supporting cast. Whitford, Keener and the completely-overshadowed Caleb Landry Jones all suffer the worst from this.
But thankfully this is not the case for everyone. Williams shines through the one-dimensionality and has the most memorable scene in the Film, while Kaluuya really amplifies the psychological horror with his brilliantly bulging eyes. But the Film’s MVP is easily Lil Rel Howery, who acts as both the comic relief and the character who says everything the audience cannot. He’s a riot and someone we need to see more of.
I really enjoyed Get Out. It is a wild ride that will leave you shocked, laughing and thinking about the racial divide that involves every single one of us. Despite its silly elements, Peele has created a deeply-political piece in the most unlikely of genres, and more than delivers on the promises of that first insane trailer. This is the first must-see Film of the year, from a Filmmaker who I can only hope will continue delivering on his outrageous promises.
Universal Pictures Canada release GET OUT on Friday, February 24, 2017.