Yet another film that didn’t arrive in Australia until months afterwards – and yet another which was worth the wait.
Get Out (2017) is a thriller directorial debut by writer/director Jordan Peele. It stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a black man in an interracial relationship with Rose (Allison Williams) who is invited out to meet her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) at their secluded estate. However, as things begin to get continually stranger, Chris begins to realise that his life may be at stake.
Jordan Peele is already well known for his comedy skit work with pal Keegan-Michael Key, which makes his directorial debut being a thriller all the more intriguing. And as Get Out once again proves, comedians must clearly have a dark side because no one would guess watching this movie the man had his start in comedy. While its distinctively creepy tone is occasionally exacerbated by humour, the one true intention of this film perpetually remains being to freak the audience the hell out. And my god does it succeed. Peele’s powerful hold over the tone and direction of Get Out never wavers and indicates his is a career worth watching going forward.
As for the plot itself, Get Out weaves a compelling narrative that remains mysterious and engaging from start to end. This is a story that deserves several viewings to appreciate all the ingenious seeding and intricacies that give the mystery its impact. My only issue remains a few moments that seem overly convenient, but these are only a handful of loose threads in a dense, solid tapestry of story. The power of this narrative is imbued further by some thoughtful and hard-hitting social commentary from Peele. While much of this speaks to contemporary racial issues in America, its underlying messages and discussion of pseudo-racism leaves something for everyone to take away. Add a few provoking metaphors on top and you’ve got an incredibly impressive writing turn from Peele too.
That being said, the entire cast deserves to be praised just as much as Peele. There is not a single weak performance here, and at the centre of it is Daniel Kaluuya in an utterly star-making role. He plays Chris with subtlety and intelligence – both things rarely seen in horror protagonists – and rises to every challenge that the script throws his way. Supporting him as girlfriend Rose is Allison Williams whose a great actor in more ways than one, as well as Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener as the parents and LilRel Howery as Chris’ over-enthusiastic friend Rod. Each have their moment and are perfectly cast in what is one of the strongest ensembles so far this year.
I’m just going to get the pun out of the way: Get out and see Get Out. Its an utterly stellar directorial debut that thrills not only in plot and subject matter, but also in how much talent Jordan Peele has been hiding away from the world. Both him and Daniel Kaluuya deserve illustrious careers going forward, and Get Out will hopefully be the first of many thrillers to come.
General Audiences: Must-see
Film Buffs: Highly Recommended
Cultists: Highly Recommended