Get Out Review
You know, I do like myself a good social satire.
I think the best social satires out there can illuminate something about the genre they play in as well as paint a portrait of the world we are living in right now. Its funny because most people who don't know a movie falls into a satire immediately get offended by it. Just like Starbucks, Netflix and now "Beauty and the Beast," I have read several people boycotting "Get Out" simply because there is a black lead and the villains are white. So obviously that means Hollywood is trying to generate a white genocide, right? It makes me laugh, because I thought the quick-to-be-offended snowflakes were on the other side of the political spectrum. I love how people can judge something based solely on a couple minutes of run time and already know exactly how the movie will play out.
"Get Out" is a clever movie though. It is wildly layered in a way I was not prepared to witness. It makes some very good points about the world we are living in right now, and the movie makes them with a darkly comedic edge. And no, I was not offended when the credits began to roll. No, not because of my "white guilt." No, not because I recognize my white privilege and I am trying to be "good" by liking it. I was not offended because the movie informs, it doesn't attack. In fact, the movie its making a comment on isn't white conservatives. The movie makes a comment on white liberals.
Oh, didn't see that coming, did you? And as I explain the movie, I bet you won't believe me. Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is a photographer who dates a white girl named Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). One weekend, Chris goes with Rose to meet her parents for the first time. He's a little uncomfortable meeting white parents who don't know their daughter's boyfriend is a black man. When he gets there, he is a little surprised and a little at ease. These aren't conservative parents who love their guns, make lots of back-handed race jokes and immediately disapprove for no reason. These are parents who can't stop talking about how great Obama was as a president. They hug Chris on his way into their door. They even want to help him get over his smoking habit. Even though Chris feels a little better, he never gets over his uncomfortable feelings. Those feelings elevate as he notices that Rose's parents have a black maid and a black groundskeeper. Soon, he notices that the maid and the groundskeeper act really weird at night, and that something strange is going on with the other white people in the neighborhood and that Roses' mom (Catherine Keener) really, really wants to hypnotize Chris to get over his smoking.
I have been late seeing several movies lately, because I am planning both a wedding and a big move into the first house I will own. Its been fun, but its been busy and its been keeping me out of theater. I have been reading lots about this movie, and one theme that kept coming up in conversation was the notion of the movie commenting on white liberals. This movie takes the theme of black people being uncomfortable around the type of white person who goes out of their way to show that they aren't racist, that they end up doing more harm than good. Personally, I take pride in having parents that raised me to give everyone I meet in life a fair chance. To look past color and creed and everything else and judge somebody by what they offer above everything else. While I do take immense pride in that, this movie made me rethink myself. Have I ever gone out of my way to show my beliefs to people of different ethnicities that I ended up making them uncomfortable? I don't know, but if I ever have, I truly feel sorry over it. I found it clever how director Jordan Peele was able to turn this uncomfortable anxiety into a nightmare of a movie.
Believe me, this movie is scary. Being such a fan of the genre, it does take much to get me scared. I say with all honesty that this movie gave me chills. I honestly can't remember the last time I had chills watching a horror movie. The movie is very subtle with its scares, and it uses them sparingly and I give Peele credit for how well the scares are handled. Everything is handled in a "matter of fact" fashion that it sets an eerie tone throughout. The actor who deserves the most credit is Betty Gabriel who plays the maid of the Armitage's. Good freaking Lord is she creepy here, and she has all the best moments of dread in the film, and she relishes every single moment of them!
Whats also surprising is how effortlessly the movie shifts from comedy to horror and back again. Too often a horror-comedy will either jump too far into one genre, and it never feels like the other genre at all. This is a movie I can eloquently say is a "horror-comedy." Because you could be freezing in terror one moment and laughing out loud the next. Lil Rel Howery plays Rod, Chris' friend who watches Chris' dog while he visits Rose' parents. He is a scene-stealer like Gabriel, but for a totally different reason. He is gut-breakingly hilarious. Yes, I know. I made up a word. But when the English language fails you in the perfect description to use, well you sometimes make up your own words. This movie is just as funny as it is terrifying.
There is a lot going on with "Get Out." There is a lot to discuss and play with here. There are moments of pure terror and moments where you won't stop laughing. The mixture never feels out of place, one genre does not drown the other. But honestly, I kind of wish Peele kept the original ending, which would have made people reel out of the theater in a big way. But any movie that makes me wish I wash challenged more is a damn good movie in my book. Jordan Peele is one of the men behind "Key and Peele" and he comes from largely a comedic background. But he can be stone cold evil at times and I hope as a director, he continues further down the horror lane. Maybe try something that is pure horror instead of horror-comedy. Something that isn't a social satire. I will be curious to see where this leads him as a creative artist.
FINAL GRADE: A