Film Review: Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017) ★★★★

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When Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) visits his girlfriend's parents for the first time, he is very quickly made aware of a large elephant in the room. As an African American, he is made to feel increasingly uncomfortable in their untactful and predominantly white town. Following a bizarre dinner party at the family estate, Chris' suspicions are confirmed - leading to a series of horrific events.

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Written and directed by one half of comedic duo, Key and Peele, Jordan Peele, Get Out presents a unique and refreshing psychological, satirical horror with the prominent theme of racism at its heart. Opening to a scene in which a black male is abducted on the street, we cut forward to a young couple as they prepare to head to the country for the weekend. We meet Chris (Kaluuya) - a successful photographer who agrees to accompany his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams) to her family estate but, having expressed his fears of being introduced to her family before, Rose believes him to be paranoid. However, once there, Chris quickly discovers all is not what it seems.

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Unlike previous race horrors such as Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968), where the antagonistic characters are often presented as brainless 'red necks' or murderous hillbillies, Get Out chooses to shine a harsher light on white, upper class America. Released at a time when social and political divide could not be more poignant, the narrative explores the horrors of modern society – the wealthy liberal elite. Much like in It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, 2014), in which there is an ever-present fear lurking, Get Out finds its scares from generations’ worth of simmering racism and bigotry. Rose’s father, Dean (played by Bradley Whitford), is the perfect symbol of this; repeating that he “would have voted for Obama for a third term” if he could and altering his lexis when Chris is in the room. This is clearly a statement by Peele that there are various forms of racism and how black people are viewed within white communities. They may not believe themselves to be racists but inappropriate questions, statements (and actions) speak volumes.

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Whilst the horror genre can easily fall in the realms of the predictable, Peele does a brilliant job of avoiding your typical jump scares. Instead, he focuses on messing with your psyche. With some visible references to Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968), The Stepford Wives (Bryan Forbes, 1975) and possibly even Lars Von Trier’s Manderlay (2005), it is clear that Peele is in good stead as a director when handling the horror genre. Though this does not stop him from using his comedic roots where appropriate – providing the perfect level of comic relief in the form of Chris’ best friend, Rod (LilRel Howery) of whom is easily a highlight of the entire film and acts as the voice of the audience. Ultimately, it I clear that Peele has done his research and, combined with his writing, this says a lot about the standard we can come to expect from him as a future director.

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What starts out as a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Stanley Kramer, 1968) narrative, very quickly turns to Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, 2016) or even a Black Mirror-esque psychological thriller. In many horrors, we find ourselves wondering why the protagonist doesn’t just get the hell out of there while they can but Peele does a fantastic job of balancing Chris’ character between unnerving paranoia and perception. When, naturally, his suspicions are confirmed, the events soon escalate in a believable fashion but always with added surprised along the way. Furthermore, as the plot reveals itself in a more shocking way, Peele clearly understands not to scoop on the cathartic spectacle which gives Get Out much of its success.

In terms of the cast, there’s very little fear. Whitford successfully wavers between a state of awkward dad and a sinister creepiness which is highly entertaining. As usual, Catherine Keener delivers an excellent performance – this time as Missy, Rose’s psychiatrist mother who effortlessly shifts between hot and cold temperaments. Surprisingly, Allison Williams as Rose is able to squeeze a great deal from the character despite her not being a focal point of the narrative. However, it is Kaluuya which truly shines among this all-star cast. Arguably at the beginning of his career, known more famously for his roles in British sitcom, Psychoville and most recently Sicario (Denis Villeneuve, 2015), we can certainly expect to see big things from him in the future.

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A tense and intelligent satire from start to finish, Get Out is easily one of the best films of 2017 already. With very little flaws to be found and so many wonderful Easter eggs dotted throughout, it is so easy to forget that this is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut (and first film away from his comedy partner, Keegan-Michael Key). Here’s hoping that this is the first of many. Get Out gets a Sophie star rating of 4 out of 5 stars and is in cinemas now. 
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Well that's it for another film review. Have you seen Get Out yet? What did you think? As always, I love reading your thoughts so please do leave me lots of lovely comments down below. 

Until next time movie lovers, 





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7 comments:

  1. I saw the ad for this last night and thought it looked good! I will have to go see this for sure! So many amazing films due this year, very excited!!

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    xx

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    1. I know! I have a list a mile long of films to see over the next few weeks which is so exciting. Makes a change! I'd love to know what you think of it too :) xx

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  2. I really need to see this film, all I've heard are good things!

    Marbl☾☽Moon

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  3. I am so pleased you enjoyed this movie (as did I), Sophie! �� I guess the way to describe the underlying racial tension when Chris meets the parents is something is which a person might feel uncomfortable because although there is a denial of racism, the subject of race is somehow still at the forefront of conversation.

    Besides the references to The Stepford Wives, Rosemary's Baby, and Trier's Manderlay, I think there is a reference to another great film - Being John Malkovich (1999) - which also has the excellent Catherine Keener in its cast. Getting caught in "the sunken place" is extremely creepy. It's a nice touch to also have Bradley Whitford who was extremely good in the The West Wing. I know Daniel Kaluyya from Black Mirror (I enjoyed his episode a lot) and he and Lil Rel Howery as his TSA agent friend do a really good job.

    Oh, I came across this short video on how bad graphic design contributes to many problems including what happened at the Oscar's, the 2000 American election, and mixups over prescription bottles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZSe4xVXHhI I found it very interesting and maybe Jack (as a graphic designer) would find it interesting as well as you.

    Oh, I noticed you mentioned something about a new job on your twitter so let me say Congratulations! �� And Best wishes to you, Sophie! ��

    London is such a wonderful place and there are so many people who love and support the people in it, including me.

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    1. Oh really, that's interesting. I didn't get that from it myself - is there a particular scene in Being John Malkovich you think it reminds you of?

      I really like Bradley Whitford, I think he's especially good in Cabin in the Woods also.

      Thanks very much :) Yes I start on the 3rd April after my Berlin trip. I'm very excited but also very nervous as it's completely different to my current place and role.

      Hope you're keeping well :)

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    2. I'll try to be vague so as to not spoil your readers. Look at the victims in Get Out and compare that to the experience of the John Cusack character at the end of Being John Malkovich. I think they are in similar hells.

      I'm doing all right. Thanks so much for asking, Sophie. I am thinking I might have a real vacation by autumn of this year. Maybe I'll do it sooner :)

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