When I first heard Jordan Peele of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” was writing, producing and directing a horror film, which would mainly focus on racism in America, I was hesitant. To tackle such an issue would take subtlety. Could a sketch comedy writer really pull that off?
The short answer is, “Yes.”
The film follows Chris Washington, a black man who – after a few months of dating – goes on a weekend trip to meet his white girlfriend’s parents at their elaborate estate. The plot unfolds to reveal things aren’t as perfect there as they seem.
Nearly everyone in “Get Out” gives a fantastic performance. The way the cast interacts with each other, from the little looks they give one another to the awkwardly long pauses throughout the dinner scene, all add to the immersive nature of the film – you want to know what the hell is going on just as badly as the characters do.
The only actor who isn’t quite as good as the rest of the cast is Caleb Landry Jones, who plays the brother of Chris’ girlfriend, Rose. He’s meant to be a creepy character, but Jones’ performance is far too over-the-top and doesn’t quite fit the atmosphere that has already been established well before his appearance.
The comic relief character is usually one of the weakest aspects of a film like this. They often clash with the tone the movie attempts to create and in the long run make it weaker as a whole. The film’s funniest character, Rod, a TSA agent and close friend of Chris, played by LilRel Howery, is just as entertaining to watch as the rest of the film. His character is pulled off so well because he’s used so sparingly – if he showed up more often, “Get Out” would have a vastly different tone. Peele restrained himself just enough when it came to humor – a very respectable move for someone who, in the past, exclusively wrote comedies.
Although it’s nearly there, “Get Out” isn’t perfect. There are two or three instances when the film relies on jump scares to frighten its audience. These add nothing to the film and it would benefit if they were omitted altogether. And without spoiling anything, the film does get a tad over-indulgent in the third act.
Nitpicking aside, the comments on society this film makes are some of the most thought-provoking in the past few years of cinema. This is done through seemingly harmless yet ignorant remarks older white characters make, such as one noting “black is in style” upon meeting Chris. Unfortunately, it’s something we all likely see in society today.
It’s strange to think the last film Jordan Peele wrote – 2016’s “Keanu” – was an action/comedy about rescuing a stolen pet cat.
No matter what you’re going to the movies for, this film likely has you covered. Comedy, check. Mystery, check. Social commentary, check. Horror, check. “Get Out” is the type of movie you’ll be thinking about for weeks.