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Three Views: Get Out

February 27, 2017

Get Out Review By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

get-out-posterChris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) have been dating for several months, and the time has finally come for him to meet her parents.  But he is black and she is white, and Chris is worried about how her rich and very white family will react to her dating a black guy.

Rose’s parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) go out of their way to let him know how much they love black people, and her unstable brother (Caleb Landry Jones) is overly preoccupied with Chris’s athletic possibilities.  But Chris almost instantly senses something is off about the whole thing, growing suspicious about the presence of the family’s black housekeepers (Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel), who act almost like robotic slaves.

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out nails a tone that is perched on the precipice between horror, comedy and social satire, and the film is effective on all fronts at weaving these things together.  The film takes a standard “meet the parents” premise and twists it into something much deeper and eerily relevant, becoming an incisive commentary on the way black people are still treated in America.

The film’s stroke of genius is that it focuses on a very specific brand of racism, namely the white liberals who go out of their way to drop references to black athletes to prove how good and accepting they are, and brag about how they “would have voted for Obama for a third term.”  The film builds with a creepy and unsettling tone throughout, taking moments of racial tension and micro aggressions, and bringing them to an extreme boiling point in the tense and suitably disturbing finale.

Daniel Kaluuya does an excellent job of carrying the film, providing a window for the audience as he starts to uncover what is really going on around him and grows increasingly terrified.  The rest of the cast does a fine job of bringing subtle creepiness to their roles, and Lil Rel Howery delivers great comic relief as a TSA agent who suspects Chris might be in trouble, and is instantly suspicious of the white people who have embraced his best friend a little too fully.

Like all great satires, Get Out uses the extremities of its story to hold a mirror up to real societal ills of how many white people still view black people.  Yes, this is a horror film, but Get Out is precisely so effective because the subtle and overt racism that our protagonist faces feels all too true.

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Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) in Get Out

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Get Out Review By Erin Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out is a thriller-horror-comedy about a guy named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), who is going from the city to suburbia to meet his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) family for the first time.  Chris is concerned at first how they’ll react to him, since he is black and Rose is white, but she assures him that her parents are progressive and ‘love black people.’  Of course his friend Rod (LilRel Howery) warns him not to go, but out of love for his girlfriend, he goes anyway.

Once at her parents house, Chris immediately feels like a fish out of water and the whole household vibe just seems off.  Her parents have black servants who are acting strangely, almost as though they are in a trance, and everyone is acting so ‘perfect’ it is weird as f*ck.  As the film goes on, things only get weirder, and it turns out (of course) that Chris should have heeded Rod’s advice and never gone to the house in the first place.

The performances are brilliantly creepy from the actors playing Rose, her parents, and everyone else who frequents the house.  On top of that, Kaluuya really carries the film with his performance providing the perspective for the audience.  The whole film plays as sharp satire on racial ideas and tensions, taking the whole thing to the next level.  Chris is the hero of the story here, and we watch his fears of meeting his white girlfriend’s family be literally realized in the worst over-the-top way imaginable.  The film is entertaining, but also a commentary on how we treat people and even how false ‘acceptance’ sounds – the amount of ‘compliments’ and ‘I know of this black person’ comments Chris receives from Rose’s circle are both hilarious to hear how dumb they sound, and painful to listen to at the same time.

As Get Out opened this weekend, check it out if you get a chance.  It’s a really well done February release, and gives just the right amount of everything from scares to commentary.  I saw it at a packed theatre and the crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy it as well.

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Missy (Catherine Keener), Dean (Bradley Whitford), Rose (Allison Williams), Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Georgina (Betty Gabriel) in Get Out

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Get Out Review By Tony Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Get Out, the first film written and directed by Jordan Peele, the mixed-race performer best known as part of the sketch comedy duo Key & Peele, strikes a nice balance between comedy and horror, with lots of examples of microracism and worse.

Following a creepy prologue, the story begins harmlessly enough, as African American Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is being taken by his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Wiliams) from the city to the isolated country estate of her overfriendly parents, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy Armitage (Catherine Keenor), a neurosurgeon and psychiatrist respectively, and disturbingly hostile brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones). As one’s grandparents might say, the “coloured help” (Marcus Henderson & Betty Gabriel) are not all there. Chris takes this all in stride, but after he is hypnotized by Missy and wakes from what seemed like a strange dream having lost the urge to smoke, he checks in by phone with his dogsitting friend Rod (LilRel Howery), an airport security guard who comically warns him in no uncertain terms to escape whatever horrible outcome awaits.

A cortège arrives for an annual garden party. Except for one “old brother” (Lakeith Stanfield) who turns out, save for an eponymous lapse, to be just as weird as the help, the very white guests of a certain age all admire Chris as a fine specimen. A Bingo game and charade by Dean add to the mystery. Chris decides to bolt, but it is not to be, hence the horror.

Being unfamiliar with Key & Peele and not a big fan of horror films, I wouldn’t have seen Get Out based on the trailer which may give away too much while scaring away people like me. I am really glad I did, however. Beginning like Annie Hall with an awkward country trip full of culture clashes and even (recalling Chris Walken) a strange brother, the film has a slow burn reminiscent, according to Peele, of Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives (and I would add, Seconds), leading to a cathartic finale.

The brilliant British actor Kaluuya leads the excellent supporting cast, carrying the audience coolly through experiences that in one way or another African Americans face daily. Days later, I am still thinking and talking about Get Out, always a good thing.

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Consensus: Mixing elements of horror, comedy and satire to great effect, Get Out is a very entertaining and also appropriately unsettling film from writer-director Jordan Peele that offers sharp social commentary on race relations. ★★★½ (out of 4)

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