Saturday, May 6, 2017

Get Out (2017) film review

Year: 2017
Running Time: 104 minutes
Director/ Writer: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, LilRel Howery, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield

Get Out will be released in Australian cinemas on May 4 and is distributed by Universal Pictures.

Jordan Peele's Get Out is the intelligent, yet terrifying horror we have all been waiting for. Not only does it do the incredible job of successfully combining features of classic and modern day horror, it is especially brave and socially important.

Get Out is something special that breaks through the confines of it's genre and becomes a film that is relevant, entertaining and enjoyable for a greater audience. Peele's story of a young man, Chris (portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya) who arrives at his girlfriend, Rose's (Allison Williams) parents' estate to find that a nightmare awaits him may sound straight forward and even like a somewhat atypical horror/thriller. Yet, what is built into this fairly basic plot makes Get Out a deep, layered and thought provoking film.

The film is one of the most interesting horrors to have been released in years. While the majority of horror films have an easily recognisable villain in the form of a supernatural being, a monster of some description or a psychopath, here it is a group of people characterised by their race who are the villains. Get Out shows people of colour as being the victims and the Caucasians being the villains, which has indeed been the case in many historical events over the years. The reasoning behind this (which is revealed towards the end) is incredibly empowering for people of colour.

However, Peele approaches this in such a careful and creative way that while Get Out is truly inspiring for people of colour, it is not disrespectful or hateful towards Caucasians and does not alienate anybody when it comes to the enjoyment of the film.

The way in which this major and ground-breaking theme has been incorporated into the film is brilliant and creative. Yet, it is not the only thing smart about the screenplay. Get Out is completely unpredictable, terrifying and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. Throughout the film, anyone watching is just as confused as Chris, who is convincingly and endearingly portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya. There are clues as to who the villain(s) are, but as to why they are actually the bad guys and the reasoning behind it is unclear until just before the final tense and stressful act. When all is revealed, it becomes clear how clever and intriguing the screenplay truly is with all the pieces of the puzzle fitting together perfectly.

On the other hand, Get Out also draws inspiration from classic horror in it's production. At times it is reasonable to question whether the film is more of a thriller than a horror, but it contains far too many combined features that belong to the horror genre for it to be considered otherwise. From the introduction to the evils at work in the opening scene to the orchestration of the final scene, Get Out follows a traditional horror film formula. Adding to it's modern take on classic horror is the dramatic musical score by Michael Abels (which is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho), haunting locations (remote home within the forest as has been seen in many a film over the years) and trance-like, psychedelic dream sequences (although not horror, reminiscent also of Hitchcock's Vertigo).

Get Out is an exceptionally strong directorial debut for Jordan Peele and makes one excited to see what he does next. It is a film that even those who dislike horror can appreciate and enjoy...maybe even have a bit of an unexpected laugh too.


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