GET OUT Review: 9 out of 10 (Sinister, Subversive, and Satisfying)
GET OUT is the social commentary that we all deserve in a post-Obama world that claims racism is dead. Set in tightly wound horror thriller, the threat isn't axe-wielding crazies, hordes of zombies, or a sparkly guy with sharp teeth. The monster here is racism--hidden behind a suburbia smile. It is a Stepford Wives allegory that a divided country needs to see.
It is also damn fun to watch.
Written and directed by Jordan Peele, (of Key and Peele) it marks his directorial debut. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford and Lil Rel Howery. The story setup is fairly simple--a sort of psychotic play on "Meet the Parents." Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a photographer, is getting ready to meet his girlfriend Rose Armitage's (Allison Williams) parents at their home in Upstate New York. Chris is apprehensive as Rose, who is white, has apparently not told her parents Missy and Dean (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) that Chris is black. Rose assures him that the parents, while a bit awkward, are not racists and will be happy to meet Chris. Once they arrive at the Armitage estate, Chris begins to notice some very odd happenings: the handyman and maid who work at the estate, Rose's creepy brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), and the mother's strange hypnosis techniques. As the weekend gets stranger with a garden party of the Armitage's friends, Chris goes from laughable concern over racial profiling to outright fear. Chris echoes back some of his experiences to his friend Rod who is dog sitting back at home for his friend. Comedian Lil Rel Howery plays the concerned buddy Rod and his performance as the paranoid friend really amps up the fun in the movie. Howery steals every scene he is in and takes this film to another level as it casually mixes in laugh out loud humor to the racial and social tension the movie suggests.
This movie has more than a couple of twists and turns, not all of which you will see coming. It is a briskly paced thriller that never lets up from the opening sequence to the final shot. Adding thrills, a few jump scares, action, and laughs, the film strikes a rare balance here as a genre mashup. Taking familiar formulas, Peele crafts a fresh tale that embeds important ideas layered throughout. Kaluuya shows his leading man chops here and Howery is a welcome addition. Sinister, subversive, and funny, GET OUT expresses an extreme version of honest issues in this culture. With plenty of setups and payoffs, this is a film that audiences will embrace, and it may offer more than a few conversations after the credits roll. Highly recommended.