‘Get Out’: Run boy run!

Get_Out-239552

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Jordan Peele

Studio: Blumhouse Pictures

MPAA Rating: R

Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10

We know director Jordan Peele, famous for the Key and Peele comedy duo among other things, has successfully directed other movies, but those were Comedies. So when word came out he was doing a Horror film, plenty of us fans of the genre were nervous about what it could mean. Turns out, we had absolutely nothing to worry about – Peele’s vision of a relevant to black folks Horror movie has all the self-aware snark and clever storytelling of Tales from the Hood, and I personally adored that movie. Yes, we know race will certainly be a large part of the story here, the trailer made that quite clear. But racial motivations are only half the story, while the other half is creepy as hell, and that’s what makes it a Horror movie.

Spoilers are never just black and white!

We meet Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a stoic young black man who happens to be a fairly good photographer, with prints of his work all over his nicely furnished if tiny apartment, and his bubbly white girl girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). Chris has a friend, Rod (Lil Rel Howery), who works for the airport TSA and is the standard co-pilot type friend in any buddy-cop movie, and their conversations over the phone are the few bright spots in a dark suspenseful movie. Chris lost his mother at a very young age and is also attempting to quit smoking, all things we learn at a rapid clip once the decision has been made to grudgingly attend Rose’s families gathering at the Armitage estate out in the middle of nowheresville.

On the way there, a mighty strange encounter with a deer that I swear was thrown at their car rather than being simply struck down by it, has Chris and Rose on edge. Meeting the self-proclaimed most non-racist Dad (Bradley Whitford) around, who would’ve by his own admission gotten Obama on a third term if he could’ve, doesn’t much help. Nor does being unnerved by psychiatrist Moms (Catherine Keener) unsettling talk of hypnosis, quitting smoking, and the sound of that damned spoon hitting the china, over and over and over. Add in the psychotic ginger of a brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) and we’ve already got a full cracker jack house.

A nighttime visit with Mom after an unsettling dream and an aborted attempt at a snuck cigarette doesn’t help Chris one bit, unless we consider his ability to be tossed down the rabbit hole by an elderly white woman fairly easily to be a good thing.

Then of course after some very weak protestations of Rose’s part, it turns out this is the weekend of the entire Armitage clan get-together, some of them rather removed, but somehow all connected in some secret way. The older white folks show up and wittingly or not, manage to repeatedly insult Chris as being the only black person there that isn’t a servant. The maidservant and the gardener, they’re both black, but they act very oddly towards Chris, especially when he starts asking questions.

Chris wanders the grounds and dutifully talks with the guests, always stoic and at least polite, as the crazy white folk continue to demean his person and Rose is of little help. We met the blind art curator, Jim Hudson (Stephen Root), who claims to know of and love Chris’ picture work, and the two of them seem to have the only really-real conversation out of anyone visiting from the Armitage clan. Chris declines to talk to really anyone else, and continually being unnerved by it all, disappears to go be with Rose. Which is good, because Dad has declared its time for the Armitage family games, beginning with bingo!

That’s no version of bingo I’ve ever played, at any rate. A mostly-silent auction is being held, and as we’ve already gathered from the trailer, Chris is the most likely prize. But why? The big grand assumption here is that these crazy elderly white folks with far too much money and time on their hands are going to participate in the greatest game, the cleverest hunt there is – that of man. But how on earth are these so-much-older white peoples planning on doing that? How is a blind man supposed to hunt anything? Turns out, the Armitage clan actually has something much worse in mind for Chris.

I won’t give the ending away, or even the real reason for the Armitage clan auctioning off Chris, but I will leave it with an interesting thought exercise to ponder. The fact that all these people, Chris and those chosen before him, were black, seems to be clear racism, yes, but in a kind of dastardly complimentary way. Like thoroughbred horses, these fine chosen black peoples have the right physical and occasionally psychological properties, that the Armitage clan is willing to pay a handsome sum of money for.

While yes, the movie is mildly predictable to me, admittedly I watch a lot of Horror movies, so that’s kind of to be expected. Peele has somehow mastered the fine tightrope line between racial tension and everybody-fears-something humanity, and manages to keep that creepy vibe throughout the film. Kaluuya delivers a masterful performance as Chris, and those acting around him, black or white or whatever else, give their roles that extra pinch of believability that makes it convincing that it all could actually happen, even tomorrow.

Run along with Chris to see Get Out, in theaters now!

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