‘Get Out’ raises the bar on discussing social commentary (review)

Have you ever been to a movie where, while watching the film, you know that what you’re watching is much bigger than what’s on the screen? We’re not just talking about some kind of cinematic milestone, but rather something larger: a social milestone. It’s no secret that it takes all kinds of people to make up this unique and crazy world, from all races and nations, and one of the universal languages that has always been able to speak across that great divide is art. One of the many mediums of art that has captivated audiences worldwide, and has even given some a platform to speak from, has been film.

Filmmakers have this incredible opportunity to declare a statement or a cause within the confines of an hour and a half, proclaiming their dislike of this or their approval of that. More than most, in this generation, a lot of the films that we are getting out of Hollywood choose to offer moviegoers an hour and a half of mind-numbing content to just fill the time. Whether it’s explosions or nudity, it is pretty apparent that these films are only there to serve the immediate need of time consumption, no offense to anyone who likes those kind of films. But every now and then we have a film that comes along, and decides that they needs to send a message, and creates an experience that is pretty remarkable. That’s where we find ourselves with Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, Get Out.

The film follows the relationship of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), who, once they’ve reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with her parents, Missy (Catherine Keener) and Dean (Bradley Whitford). Chris finds a few things odd right off the bat: Rose’s mother is a Hypnotherapist, the family has two African American housekeepers, and the dad has a huge grudge against deer. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.

This film is so packed with nuances that, where most would look past, few take hold, and examine the nugget that lay before them. Get Out takes a slice from the social issue pie, and places it on display for the world to view and behold, and it ain’t pretty. Director Jordan Peele, known for his hilarious work on the Comedy Central series Key and Peele, blows the audience away with his cerebral and very real look at overt racism in America. Even though his film is chock-full of comedic breaks, the film holds strong to its roots in Horror, giving fans a true sense of dread and suspense throughout. Knowing Peele was capable of creating such masterpieces is kind of upsetting that he hadn’t started directing earlier, but I’ll take it where I can get it.

Not many times can someone say that the casting of a film was perfect, as someone always has a complaint about someone, but not with this film. This film was perfectly and expertly cast, from the housekeeper, to Daniel Kaluuya’s character, Chris. Kaluuya has always been a gem to see in projects, from his role in the 2015’s action-packed Sicario, to his unique character in the grim and creepy anthology series, Black Mirror. His ability to disappear in the role is very rare in most actors these days, and, of course, he excels in the role as Chris in Get Out. His emotional response in the role, contrasted by the cold and unfeeling people he interacts with, truly distinguishes his performance in each and every scene.

One of the most outstanding aspects of this film is the cinematography. Peele creates such a unique statement with each scene, compiling and placing everything expertly, and with purpose, so that everything that is within frame is supposed to be seen. His ability to use the camera as part of the narrative of the film shows maturity and experience from a director, which is unique coming from Peele. Combined with his well-paced writing, Peele has jumped from solely being a comedic actor to a tour de force in the genre of intelligent horror.

The film creates such an eerie atmosphere that, honestly, made some people in the theater squirm in their seats. Not because the content on screen was bloody, or it was gory, or it was filled with profanity; it was because the situation that was happening on screen has probably happened in some fashion in the news, or in their city. The fact that this film opens with a scene that many people of color, especially African Americans, have faced numerous times: someone of color walking down the street of a predominately upscale White neighborhood.

The film gives the audience an opportunity to see behind the eyes of someone in that position, carefully treading through a neighborhood, revealing the fear and dread that some face daily. The film does this on numerous occasions, showing the discrimination from the eyes of those that don’t deserve it, taking the moviegoers through one awkward exchange after another.

Get Out is a surreal and intelligent film that truly knows how to scare its audience: with reality. It utilizes the truth about the very real social issues of race and affluence, and drops it in your lap in the unique puzzle of a smart horror film. Get Out takes no easy way to the point, and lays the history of white privilege before you in a film that will keep the conversations going for days on end. I don’t want to spoil the film for you, but know that this is a movie that goes from A to Z, hitting each and every subtle point along the way, and ends with a crescendo at Z. Take the time, and check out this film, and you won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms

Facebook Comments