Get Out(2017) Review
Cast : Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Lakeith Stanfield, Lil Rey Howery
Director : Jordan Peele
Genre : Horror
Synopsis : It's time for a young African-American to meet with his white girlfriend's parents for a weekend in the secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambiance will give way to a nightmare.
Frucking Scary Sans The Supernatural!
Ever get that feeling when you're watching a horror movie, and you see some character walking in an isolated, starkly lit house, which you know he/she is not supposed to enter? You just know that at any moment, you're about to witness some spooky entity popping out of nowhere and bumping off the said character in the most grotesque manner imaginable. What goes on in our mind then as an audience? Are we thinking about the outcome? Of course not! We almost always know the fate of each and every character. In spite of this, we still enjoy anticipating whether or not the character will continue to linger in the haunted place.
"Noooo! What the hell are you doing? Don't go in there! What the hell is the matter with you? Don't stay here any longer. GET OUT!!"
'Get out' - Those are perhaps the very words being played on loop in every audience's mind when they see such a scene being played out. Get Out is a movie that is filled with the same kind of sarcasm as the way it's title provides a clever play on the typical horror films that always rely on the 'Get out' kind of buildup moments. It's not the kind of horror film featuring a group that say, gets trapped in a haunted house. What's even more surprising is that for a horror film, there's none of that balderdash supernatural stuff, usually involving screaming banshees, dancing jokers, or scary dolls.
Instead, director Jordan Peele cinematically articulates the horror of liberal racism in America, and somehow manages to pull off a movie about race in the most unlikely premise possible. He does all this without compromising on the thrill and fun that you'd come to expect of a horror film. Make no mistake, for a horror film brimming with racial undertones, the villains here are not the kind of white neo-Nazi people who splutter out the N-word. They're the kind of people who take pride in calling themselves white liberals, and as one character mentions, they probably would have voted for Obama the third time if they could. However, Peele exposes how this kind of West-Wing liberal arrogance of people who consider themselves to be allies of movements against racism unintentionally do more harm than good. The film raises some very uncomfortable but pertinent questions such as does being a white liberal absolve a person from being a racist?
Daniel Kaluuya draws in a performance that feels very personal, almost as if the actor himself has been at the receiving end of prejudices once masked beneath the layers of denial and the facade of liberalism. His chemistry with Allison Williams, who plays his white girlfriend Rose Armitage, provides refreshing depth to the story. Allison has a very amiable screen presence and shines especially in the climax. Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford are at their sinister best as the unsuspecting Rose's parents. Lakeith Stanfield completely steals the show in the couple of scenes his character appears in the movie.
Having being nominated for four Academy Awards(Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor) against heavyweights such as Dunkirk and The Shape of Water, Get Out could very well end up as the not-so surprising win this time. And I say this, not just because of how good the film is(which it is!), but also for how frequently the outside world has a profound effect on the Oscar choices. Just look at last year for instance. Moonlight(about a poor, black, gay man) winning the Best Picture over the much more popular La La Land(comprising of an almost all white cast) was widely perceived as a reaction to Trump winning the presidential elections. Voting for Moonlight was supposed to be a symbolic victory in the face of the Trump administration's rising anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, white supremacist sentiment. And who can forget the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. The inclusion of two actors of color this time in the Best Actors category certainly seems like a reaction to the widely criticized whitewashing of acting nominees for two straight years.
Imagine if Get Out actually does go on to win the Best Picture for reasons other than just how good the film is. Wouldn't it be truly ironic that in voting for a film that speaks up about the damaging effects of liberal hypocrisy and ignorance, the academy members would appear to get on their high horse about their liberal values in the face of Donald Trump?
Get Out is the kind of film that Christopher Nolan or even Quentin Tarantino would make if they were ever to try their hand in the horror genre. It's the kind of film you can imagine if the TV show Westworld(created by Nolan's brother - Jonathan) was made in a horror movie premise. The real question is - Does Get Out truly live up to it's list of accolades?
You bet it does. Loaded with wit and brimming with political satire, I for one really enjoyed getting frucking scared!
I'm going with 4/5.
Stray Observations(may contain spoilers) :
* I'm not sure, but was the climax ambiguous? Here's a far fetched, but not entirely implausible theory. For a moment, it seemed that Chris stopped choking Rose not out of his own free will, and not because a police car showed up, but I kind of felt that Rose had in some way, hypnotized him and possessed his body. Also, Chris's silence on his friend's concerns seemed uncharacteristic.
* Another point that may add some weight to this seemingly far-fetched theory is that Rose gasping - "Help!" felt more like Chris shouting out for help, as he may have swapped his body for Rose's.
* Chris pondering through Rose's diary felt like a nod to the Korean masterpiece Oldboy(2003). Both films felt twisted in their own way.
* Okay, so I think director Jordan Peele is definitely a fan of Oldboy, since I just thought of another key element common to both film - Hypnotizing.
* Now that I have mentioned about the ambiguous climax, didn't Oldboy also have an ambiguous climax? In Oldboy, after the central character Dae-su wakes up from his hypnosis, he embraces his daughter/lover. He then gives a pained smile. Is it because he consciously knows that Mi-do is his daughter or subconsciously he knows something is wrong with loving her? Or is it simply because Dae-su has been manipulated so much that the barrier between his conscious and subconscious mind is blurred. Seems eerily similar to Chris's situation in this movie.