Biting my knuckle and gripping my chair as the lights started to dim for my screening of Get Out, I was prepared to be disappointed. It wasn’t because I doubted Jordan Peele, writer and director, whose long career in comedy took a sharp right turn when he decided to create Get Out. It wasn’t even because I was worried that the plot would rely too much on the racial tensions played up heavily in all of the film’s marketing, as the film centres around Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black man who visits the parents of his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) for the first time, before racial tensions devolve into a horror-drama.
I was afraid that I was hyped too much. With a 99% approval rating on RottenTomatoes, Get Out seemed impossibly good.
In short: the movie lives up to the hype. In long, the editing, sound design, acting, directing and writing were technically perfect. Peele’s freshman entry into the film world as a director seems influenced by a lifetime of racial discrimination, and Twilight Zone-esque horror.
Chris slowly discovers the underlying terror that upends his pleasant, if awkward and uncomfortable, weekend in the Hamptons with Rose’s family. Chris himself is endearing and cool throughout, and the audience is forced to watch as his calm but charismatic persona is ground down; I found myself being dragged along with Chris as my own mood was thrust into a state of unease. Rose steals the show for most of her early scenes, as an enthusiastic, satirical, and take-no-BS woman who refuses to let her boyfriend be pushed around. In multiple instances, she defends Chris with vigor. It is in these instances early in the film where Peele begins to reveal the world that his characters are living in.
For an instant, I watch Rose mock a racist police officer as Chris watches dispassionately, and marvel at his temperance and patience, before I realize that my viewpoint is clouded, the same way Rose is. As a white man, the discrimination we see play is atrocious, not an everyday occurrence. The calm manner that the black protagonist maintains shows not a superhuman level of self control- this is not that kind of movie.
Chris, instead, displays unnerving realism. He is used to such a thing, and it isn’t worth mentioning, to him.
In fifteen seconds, Peele and his characters capture institutional racism in North America on film greater than thousands of hours of Ferguson-inspired docu-dramas.
This realistic atmosphere is maintained for the 1 hour 44 minute run time, and the viewer is tricked into believing that the events that unfold throughout the first and second act could be excused as discrimination pushed to an eccentric extreme.
The pace accelerates into light-speed in the third act; as the plot thickens, every castaway shot from early scenes is brought to light as having a greater meaning. Every minute, when looked back upon, makes the viewer curse under their breath for not seeing the connections.
In his directorial debut, Jordan Peele stuns with Get Out, from top to bottom. The praise is deserved; the best horror film I have ever seen, is in theatres.