"My parents are not racist," Rose (Allison Williams) assures her boyfriend, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), preceding a weekend visit to the former's family estate. Rose and Chris have been dating for five months and the latter, being a black man, is apprehensive about the fact that Rose hasn't mentioned this fact to her parents. Rose comforts Chris. "My father would've voted for Obama a third term if he could," she tells him -- a pre-election joke that now carries extra weight.
As we arrive at the Armitage family estate (even their surname reads like it's missing three extra Ks), Chris is greeted by tranquil, yet creepy, matriarch Missy (Catherine Keener) and goofy, eager-to-please patriarch Dean (Bradley Whitford). Immediately, we see that Rose's assurance meant nothing. Her parents are racist.
But this doesn't mean they're pulling sheets over their head, burning crosses and blurting hate speech. Dean uses words like "thang" and "my dude," and his temperament blatantly suggests somebody putting on a character to adhere to those around them ("code-switching," a theme also explored in last year's Jordan Peele-penned "Keanu"). Missy is subtler, staring with a calm coldness at Chris in a way that seems almost violating. Later we meet Rose's brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), who flat out comments on the potential of Chris' "genetic disposition" at the dinner table. The next day brings with it a social gathering, where dozens more Caucasians fill the estate grounds to gawk at Chris' blackness with questions like "Is it true?" (referring to his penis size) and "Can you tell us how the African-American experience has been for you?"
And this is before everything starts getting absolutely bonkers, details of which I wouldn't dare spoil.
Jordan Peele's "Get Out," the "Key & Peele" star's directorial debut, is giving us a glimpse at the racism of everywhere -- exploring how prejudice exists even in the mildest of manners. Throughout the film we see white people looking at Chris not as a person, but as a "black person." That's racism. It's like when somebody tells you a story where a person of color is a central figure: If they use terms like "black guy" or "Latino woman," and it isn't an essential addition to the story at hand, that's racism. It's not hateful racism, or even mindful racism -- it just is, and it's embedded in our culture like a virus. Herein lies the first layer of terror in Peele's wise and pertinent horror-comedy hybrid. The filmmaker gives us fear as a mirror held up to reality.c`
The second layer is pure, playful and psychological dread, delivering more genuine jolts and thrills than any horror film I've seen this side of the new millennium. As for the third layer... well, that's just the terror of knowing you may piss your pants or burst an appendix from laughing too hard.
Mixing horror, humor, and satirical perspective with an artful ease, "Get Out" cements Peele as a real deal to watch in the cinematic realm. There are more than a handful of "Key & Peele" sketches with quality and vision to rival feature-length films, and last year's "Keanu" gave the series' director, Peter Atencio, a chance to work on a bigger scale. But "Get Out" is Peele's time to shine, and the filmmaker immediately makes you aware of the good hands you're in.
The effective opening sequence is a one-two punch of long shot and static shot from afar, and moments later there's an excellent music cut in the opening credits (that's timed to music supervisor Christoper Mollere's credit nonetheless). As we progress along the running time, Peele and crew flood the screen with uncomfortable close-ups and eerie framing by cinematographer Toby Oliver, lively editing by Gregory Plotkin, and a voodoo-inspired score by Michael Abels. The entire cast is a marvel as well, with the aforementioned joined by standouts like Betty Gabriel, Lekeith Stanfield and the uproarious Lil Rey Howery as Chris's friend, Rod (seriously, I may be pushing this guy for Best Supporting Actor come the year's end).
Aside from being remarkably discerning, authentically frightening and so, so funny, "Get Out" is entertaining to an exhaustive degree. My preview screening consisted of the one of the most animated and reactive crowds I've ever encountered, to the point where the adrenalized third act had the entire theater sharing in a communal act of applause. Then, as the movie enters its conclusive minutes, Peele delivers one of the best final shocks of all time.
It isn't a jump scare, but if it doesn't terrify you to death you haven't been paying attention.
InfoRuntime :: 104 mins
Release Date :: Feb 24, 2017
Language :: Silent
Country :: United States
CastChris Washington :: Daniel Kaluuya
Rose Armitage :: Allison Williams
Missy Armitage :: Catherine Keener
Dean Armitage :: Bradley Whitford
Jeremy Armitage :: Caleb Jones
Walter :: Marcus Henderson
Georgina :: Betty Gabriel
Andrew Logan King :: Lakeith Stanfield
Jim Hudson :: Stephen Root
Rod Williams :: Lil Rel Howery
Lisa Deets :: Ashley Campbell
Gordon Greene :: John Wilmot
Emily Greene :: Caren Larkey
April Dray :: Julie Doan
Parker Dray :: Rutherford Cravens
Philomena King :: Geraldine Singer
CrewDirector :: Jordan Peele
Screenwriter :: Jordan Peele
Producer :: Sean McKittrick
Producer :: Jason Blum
Producer :: Edward Hamm
Producer :: Jordan Peele
Executive Producer :: Raymond Mansfield
Executive Producer :: Couper Samuelson
Executive Producer :: Shaun Redick
Executive Producer :: Jeanette Volturno
Cinematographer :: Toby Oliver
Film Editor :: Gregory Plotkin
Original Music :: Michael Abels
Production Design :: Rusty Smith
Art Director :: Chris Craine
Set Decoration :: Leonard Spears
Costume Designer :: Nadine Haders
Casting :: Terri Taylor