Movie Review: "Get Out" (2017)
There's two ways to approach reviewing a movie like this: talk about the commentary on race in America or just handle it as a straight horror film. I'm going with both. Ready? Good.
With the hype around this one y'all probably know the basics: directed by first-time director Jordan Peele (of "Key & Peele" fame), it's about a young black man going to meet his white girlfriend's VERY well-to-do family for the first time. Even the trailer doesn't hide the fact that this is a horror film, but I was still fairly impressed with how Peele handled it.
The vibe was equal parts Cabin in the Woods and The Stepford Wives. The scene where he meets the parents for the first time is cringe-inducing in a heavy-handed way. I don't believe that was a mistake. You are meant to feel uncomfortable with this whole scenario. The "I would've voted for Obama a third time if I could've" line was fried gold coming out of the mouth of the great Bradley Whitford ("Cabin in the Woods", "The West Wing"). Daniel Kaluuya is classy and reserved as Chris Washington. He handles each increasingly awkward situation with good humor.
Then the shit gets turned upside down. Fast.
It's not the easiest task to build tension when you're playing such an obvious hand. Everything- from the over the top attention paid to Chris, the all-black servant staff, the creepy formal party, the incidents with all of the staff- lets you know that bad shit is about to happen. Still, when the worm turns it's still effective. Peele shows a lot of promise as a director, and he clearly loves the genre and knows it well.
I honestly didn't see it going exactly where it did in the reveal (no spoilers here). I will say it was pretty clever. The slavery metaphor and how to get there is pretty damn insidious.
My broad opinion of the horror aspect of the film? It's a damn good freshman outing from a man who will, in all likelihood, hang around the genre for a while and walk that most iffy of tightropes: the "horror/comedy". I gave it a solid 7/10. It didn't knock my socks off and change the genre, but I could definitely see what all of the buzz was about.
As for the underlying (but just barely) social commentary on racism in America I'll just say this: if you're the type to get your panties in a bunch and defend your race then just skip this movie. Do yourself a favor. This is a black comedian writing a horror film about a black man meeting his white girlfriend's rich parents. I think the writing was already on the wall.
I honestly feel that people made too damn much of this particular element of the film mainly because of the clothes it was dressed in, i.e. a horror film. This subject is tackled (and much more bluntly) in comedy every damn day (Chappelle's Show or Key and Peele, anyone? Blazing Saddles? Etc, etc....)
We all know that racism is still a very real problem in America despite our progress these last 2 or 3 decades. What this film does a great job of skewering is the overreactive white guilt that is so prominent among people who fancy themselves "progressive". Believe me, once you see it through to the end you'll realize how far-fetched it is, but that's the beauty of the humor that seethes below the surface. This movie is custom made to piss of the real ignorant assholes and make those well-meaning "progressives" stop and think for a second.
Are you the asshole who has to tell your black friend that you voted for Obama? Are you constantly saying things like "My man!"? Can you just not avoid the subject of race? It's kind of the moral of the story here.
That doesn't make you sensitive and well-meaning....it makes you a fucking douche canoe. Do you know where race enters the conversation for me with someone who's black (or any other race for that matter)? IT DOESN'T BECAUSE I DON'T GIVE A FUCK WHAT COLOR YOU ARE. I have no hangups about race, nor do I have any white guilt. I'm not going to apologize for my ancestors and you shouldn't be hung up on old injustices.
We're all big boys and girls now. We are responsible for our own actions. Do unto others as you'd have done to you.
End of story and end of rant.
Thank you, Jordan Peele, for putting that in my favorite blood-stained clothing. I salute you.