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Get Out - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews — LiveJournal
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Get Out
Directing: A-
Acting: B+
Writing: A-
Cinematography: B+
Editing: A-

I wonder if white people have different expectations of Get Out than black people? I went in expecting something perhaps racially charged in a pointed way, but maybe that's just the product of my own preconceived biases? I honestly don't know. The marketing would certainly seem to suggest such an expectation, but then, maybe the marketing was a savvy way of manipulating my expectations.

If so: color me impressed, actually. Get Out, as it happens, is impressive any way you look at it. Another bias I'll freely cop to is one against horror: I just don't like it as a genre, and find the typical horror film to be poorly made. It's the genre of movie I see the least, and rarely do I rate them above a B-. The last horror movie I saw that was at least as good as this one was six and a half years ago, when Let Me In was released.

That one was both scarier and more provocative than Get Out. In fact, one could argue that Get Out loses an opportunity to be provocative. But, who says it has to be? It has a clear perspective, as written and directed by Jordan Peele, who seems to have found his niche. This is a truly impressive directorial debut, which hits all the right notes as a genre film while also taking it in unprecedented directions. This is the same guy who co-wrote and starred in last year's comedy Keanu, which fell well short of its potential. It turns out all Peele needed was the right kind of movie.

Mind you, plenty of Get Out is funny. Occasionally it's very funny, in a way that merely balances out the scares with levity, as opposed to becoming Scream-eqsue pseudo-satire. This movie actually takes itself seriously.

And it goes in directions no one could ever expect or predict. It has its fair share of jump scares, as young Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, recognizable to Black Mirror fans from the "Fifteen Million Merits" episode) accompanies his girlfriend Rose (Girls's Allison Williams) on a visit to her parents' estate out in the country. It's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner with a horrific twist whose racial angle turns out to be a bit banal.

But I still won't spoil that for you. Get Out has many twists that are eminently satisfying and delightfully unpredictable. Every other black person Chris meets in this neighborhood acts strangely polite -- unless you take a flash photo of them, which proves to be a clever plot point. Why are all the other black people acting so strangely? And Chris intuits that Rose doesn't see it because she's too oblivious as a white girl to get it. The truth is a bit more sinister.

Another point in Get Out's favor is that although it has plenty of startling moments that I often have little patience for, it's not especially scary. What it is, instead, is incredibly suspenseful, especially throughout its lengthy and fairly graphic climactic sequence, which reveals Chris to be anything but a helpless victim. It occurs to me that this story has a sort of backward, feminist bent to it as well: neither Rose nor her mother (the always-excellent Catherine Keener) are helpless victims either. In fact they are both especially strong women, in their ways, each with surprises of their own.

The more I think about Get Out, the more impressed I get. This isn't just a surprisingly solid horror movie. It's so well constructed that it successfully entices genre skeptics like myself. It's a great movie, period.

Daniel Kaluuya finds himself trapped by hypnosis in GET OUT.

Overall: A-
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