Directed by Jordan Peele
So…you need to know that this terrific movie from first-time film director, but long-time comic genius, Jordan Peele, is a film that will be seen and felt in two completely different ways. Those of us who live in the world of white privilege, and the people of color who have to move through that world. In other words, my experience of the film as a white person will be completely different than that experienced by a black person.
Which is not to say it’s any less hilarious and scary for the former. It’s as brilliantly funny as you would imagine anything coming from Peele’s mind. The film moves both quickly and with ease. Most of the characters are very well-developed. And the acting is note-perfect, certainly miles ahead of any other comically based horror film. And the twist leading to act three really does come out of nowhere…which is incredibly difficult to accomplish. (btw, unless they are used to cursing and extreme violence, it is not for children…even if there were dozens of kids under the age of ten at the theater I went to in Sarasota). But, most enjoyable for me, was the preponderance of people yelling at the screen – usually using the title of the film as their guide, which is as sure a sign that a film has grabbed an audience as any!
The WORLD of the film is brilliantly conceived. I will give nothing away, but suffice it to say Peele has found a way to craft a film that takes advantage of the way most African-Americans feel about their place in White America, while simultaneously placing us white folk in the uncomfortable position of both patting ourselves on the back for not being as racist as the white characters in the film, while wondering, quietly, if we are laughing at the situational jokes (and should we), or with them (and should we) – or, most uncomfortably, are we the butt end of them (and, therefore, should we). The fact that it is hard to know, demonstrates the incredible balancing act he’s pulled off.
But the above is for a longer and deeper discussion. The pertinent piece is that the film is, while maybe not quite matching its considerable hype, a blast to sit through! And, as ever, humor is only funny if the performers believe what they’re saying. Daniel Kaaluya, who was brilliant in the first season of “Black Mirror” (the “Merits” episode), is equally so here. A near perfect performance as our protagonist, Kaaluya is vulnerable, fierce, real, and carries the weight of our suspension bridge of disbelief with ease. All the white people in the film are effective. In an effort to give nothing away, I’ll simply say “WELCOME BACK CATHERINE KEENER!!” She’s phenomenal and it’s been way too long since she graced us with her considerable acting chops. But, for me, the revelation is stand-up LilRel Howery. Funny without trying to be, he is us…the voice of reason and concern. Already possessing a strong television career, this performance should bust the movie-role doors wide open. Oh, and Stephen Root is, as ever, note perfect. He might be our greatest living character actor. If not, he’s certainly in the discussion!
The only cliched element of the entire film is Michael Abels score. I’m all for giving creative composers in the classical world the opportunity to do the same for film, but Peele has tied one of Abels arms behind his back…spending too much time with scary accents rather than themes you KNOW Abels is capable of. The main title music is fantastic, but, alas, it devolves from there. Too bad. BUT the film is doing well enough he’ll get another opportunity for sure.
Whatever your perspective, “Get Out” will engage, delight and frighten (both instantly and metaphorically). Looking forward to Peele’s next project as it is quite obvious we have a new cinematic voice to be reckoned with!
(just so’s ya know, this trailer gives away WAY too much for my taste)
Written on 3/7/2017