Get Out has been described as many things, a horror, a dark comedy, a social commentary piece and a cinematic time capsule sounding the alarm for generations to come. It is now also a Best Picture nominee at this year’s Oscars.
Having missed the original cinema release of the film I was eager to catch up with one of the most talked about movies of 2017 to see if I too would join the chorus of critical acclaim the film has received.
‘Do they know I’m black?’ an early but important question Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) poses for his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams). Meeting the parents is never easy but Chris’ concerns run deeper than will they like for who I am, sadly, even in 2017 the question of will they like me for what I am still applies. It’s a question that shouldn’t matter, and yet it’s a question that is sadly all to prevalent and all too real for Chris. Reassured by Rose that her parents are open, liberal and will bore him with their desire to vote for Obama a third term the pair set off.
The threat in Get Out is present as soon as the question ‘Do they know I’m black’ is asked. As soon as a fear is named the horror begins to seep in from the edges until it becomes all consuming. Subtly at first, a police stop, a seemingly unnecessary request for I.D, the initial awkwardness of a parental meeting, the large home akin to those homesteads in plantation films in which slavery was normality and white the racial dominance. Director Jordan Peele doesn’t ring the alarm bells too quickly but rather brushes the edge of the cymbal before entering the full clanging crescendo of horror that awaits.
More hints and guesses as to what may lie ahead come in the strange dinner conversations about Chris’ athletic prowess, stereotypes that continue in conversations with neighbours gathered for a seemingly innocent annual get together. Chris begins to notice things; he is aware of the strangeness but cannot escape it. Amidst all the strangeness Chris maintains contact with normality (and the outside world) through his buddy Rod. Honest conversations and an unspoken awareness of how wrong this trip could go, Rod is himself a warning bell to the viewer, and yet at times a comedic one, providing much needed moments of levity to lighten the horror that lies within.
Get Out is wonderfully directed with a razor sharp script and brilliant performances throughout. This is not simply a shock or gore fest. This is an intelligent film, a layered film, a contemplative film that wills it audience to waken from its racial slumber as much as it wills Chris to escape his surroundings.
Get Out is indeed a horror, a dark comedy, a social commentary piece and a cinematic time capsule sounding the alarm for generations to come. It is also more than worthy as a contender for Best Picture.
Get Out is available now on DVD, Blu Ray and VOD.