Jordan Peele’s striking debut is a near perfect, satirical thriller. A chilling and enticing story which plays on American racial dynamics, Get Out is a smart, unique, mainstream cinema experience – a rare delight. In a theatrical world dominated by sequels and remakes, original storytelling is becoming more and more of a precious treat. Films like Get Out are a joyous reminder that creative innovation can still flourish despite what annual statistics and research tell us about the depressing unimaginative winning formulas of the Hollywood studios. In its first month Get Out has grossed over $120 million, a remarkable feat when you consider it was made for a mere $4.5 million. The film had its world premier at Sundance less than 2 months ago, meaning it really has come out of absolutely nowhere. With an intense award season now over, its an ideal time for a gem like Get Out to emerge. Chris in an African American photographer whose reasonably fresh relationship with a young Caucasian woman, is blossoming. When they take a weekend trip to meet her family they are welcomed with open arms – arms so open its verging on cringe-worthy. The grounds and house are tended to by black servants – something the family address openly and justifies quickly. Over-friendly in-laws verge on creepy as things quickly reveal themselves to be not as idyllic as they seem. What begins as awkward white liberal reaction to their daughter’s interracial relationship quickly descends into something far more sinister, particularly when Chris starts to get to know the African-American staff.
Peele cleverly inserts the modern liberal where the organised far right and violent hillbillies, have previously been positioned in horror cinema. Get Out is a delicate balance of numerous well-judged elements. Marketing itself as ‘from the producers of Insidious‘ – the film has smartly drawn in big crowds on this reputation but delivers scares far more original. There are plenty of conventional jump scares but there is enough rich texture within the narrative to make Get Out far more than just another formulaic fright-fest. The film is elevated by its strong, well-rounded cast. Allison Williams of Girls is smart casting, an actress who encapsulates the privileged white left feminist. Caleb Landry Jones is always a treat, here adding to his wonderful past work in Heaven Knows What. Bradley Whitford encapsulates white privilege, hilariously and unnecessarily declaring his admiration for Obama. The film undoubtedly belongs to Daniel Kaluuya – a British talent I’ve admired since his early appearance in British TV comedy series Psychoville. He’s a startling talent – proving here that less is more. It’s a subtle, internal performance which captivates from the very start. Michael Abels’ music is intoxicating and versatile, blending and entwining with the spontaneity of the plot. Get Out is also unexpectedly funny with smart satirical humour and a witty script contrasting with the chills the plot brings. Get Out is full of good stuff, technically and thematically and is simply not to be missed.
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