As half of Key & Peele, Jordan Peele has already left his mark on sketch comedy, but his directorial debut may still have you going: “who knew he could do that?” Get Out, also written by Peele isn’t a comedy, but a horror film, which dives into American racism effectively as the best Key & Peele sketches, in a way that will leave you substantially more unsettled. It will also leave you having seen one of the best movies of the decade.
With its various twists and turns, the plot of Get Out is definitely one you should try to know as little about as possible beyond the premise: photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, who you may recognize from the “Fifteen Million Merits” episode of Black Mirror) and his girlfriend Rose (Girls’ Allison Williams) drive to stay with Rose’s parents for the weekend. Chris, who is black, is worried that Rose’s white parents (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford, who it turns out looks extremely different with a beard and shaved head) may have some issues with his race. They don’t seem too bad at first, but then things start getting weird.
Weird, and intense. Peele, it turns out, is a great director, melding distinctive images (thanks also to cinematographer Toby Oliver) with complete mastery over the tone and feeling of each moment. Unnerving close-ups punctuate conversations, while wider shots let things get trippy and sometimes Lynchian, aided by Michael Abels’ freaky score. The casting—which also finds great use for Lil Rel Howery as Daniel’s hilarious best friend Rod, plus Lakeith Stanfield, Betty Gabriel, and Marcus Henderson in smaller but pivotal parts—is also just about perfect, with Kaluuya providing the exact kind of emotional connection you need for horror movie protagonist
None of that would matter as much, though, were it not in the service of one of the most unique, incisive, and vital scripts, horror or otherwise, you’ll see. Get Out is a horror movie about being black. Taking the conventions of the horror genre and using them to explore the hidden evils of society would seem to be the best way you could use them, but when it comes to an evil like racism, how many examples can you think of? Any? Making it all the more amazing that Get Out doesn’t just exist, but is a legitimate masterpiece. Get, uh, out, and see it now.
–Charlie Heller, exclusive to LAWestMedia.com
Image from Universal Studios