Get Out (2017)
One of the most original, unique & thought-provoking concepts to surface on the silver screen, Get Out is a cleverly structured, masterly told & brilliantly performed satire that offers a cinematic ride so effective, thrilling & entertaining that the fact that it is a directorial debut makes it all the more commendable. An exquisite blend of horror & dark comedy that intelligently interweaves its ingeniously layered storyline with timely social commentary, it isn’t just one of the boldest & strongest debuts in recent memory but is impressive enough to rank amongst the finest works of 21st century horror.
The story of Get Out follows Chris Washington, a black photographer who takes a trip with his white girlfriend to meet her parents, and spend the weekend at their secluded estate. On arrival, everyone in the family tries to make Chris feel welcome but their overtly accommodating behaviour also leaves him a little uncomfortable, which he dismisses as the family’s nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship. But as the weekend progresses and more guests pour in for the family’s annual get-together, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead Chris to a nightmarish revelation.
Written & directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out is a sensational start to his filmmaking career and presents him in complete control of his craft. Every moment plays a role in the final outcome, every little detail is vital to the plot, and every twist adds to the mystery which keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats. Also, Peele’s ability to still keep things amusing and infused with razor-sharp critique of modern society speaks volumes about his talents as a storyteller. All the characters are embedded with interesting arcs & exhibit considerable depth, and the cast is able to expertly utilise this solid platform to build their performance upon.
Its low budget is efficiently handled and all the technical aspects work in harmony to heighten the film’s foreboding atmosphere & mysterious vibe. The very estate where majority of the plot unfolds bears resemblance to a plantation-like setting while the remoteness of the location brings the element of claustrophobia into the picture. Cinematography employs the camera to great effect, keeping the movements fluid & controlled, and the images are further enhanced by its precise use of lighting. Editing is one of its biggest strengths, for it paces the story in sublime fashion plus its slowly revealing nature ultimately leads viewers to a finale that’s downright bone-chilling.
Coming to the performances, the cast consists of Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones & Lil Rel Howery, and all of them play their part responsibly. Kaluuya leads from the front with a well-measured performance as Chris Washington but Williams isn’t far behind in her rendition of Rose Armitage, Chris’ girlfriend, and their input only gets stronger as plot progresses. Whitford & Keener are in as Rose’s parents and there’s an enigmatic quality in their work. Howery is mostly used as a comic relief, and the remaining cast is just as good, if not better. Lastly, its mystifying soundtrack is always in tune with requirements of the scene, and is often unsettling.
On an overall scale, Get Out is fresh, funny & frightening in equal doses, and is one of the best all-round films of 2017. Bringing the horrors of slavery-era America into its contemporary setting, it is a smart, subversive & sardonic delight that has been refined to the minutest of details, and is brought to life with bravura & confidence. Jam-packed with savvy ideas & bold decisions, making the most of its limited budget, unafraid to experiment with tonal shifts & pushing the boundaries of its genre(s) in the process, Jordan Peele’s first foray into feature filmmaking is a masterwork of impeccable writing & outstanding direction, and is a welcome entry in the world of horror. Fun yet intelligent, bewildering yet compelling & amusing yet terrifying, Get Out is neither overt nor covert, and is the first assured masterpiece of the year. Strongly recommended.