Peele has a long, successful career ahead of him.
Director: Jordan Peele
Screenplay: Peele (Keanu)
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya (Sicario) , Alllison Williams (College Musical)
Runtime: 1 hr 43 min.
by John DeSando
Jordan Peele has a future as a writer -director. So expertly does he navigate genres in Get Out that I'm struggling to come up with one descriptor; rather I want to put them all in a stew and hyphenate: horror-comedy-social commentary-psychological thriller.
Young black man, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), goes for weekend with white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), to her parents' home way out in the woods. The scary tropes are all there including strange servants and wacky psychologist mom (Katherine Keener), all overseen by equally off-center neurosurgeon dad.
If you mash up Guess Who's Coming to dinner with Stepford Wives and add a dash of Freddy for scary laughs, then you'll understand my enthusiasm for this first effort by an entertainer now firmly right behind Damien Chazelle for young, promising filmmakers.
Enjoy brains tossed in a trash bucket and wildly-inappropriate social comments that at the same time as the humor allow Peele to draw on the absurdities of contemporary correctness and social engineering. No hot button about the place of minorities is not pushed, albeit superficially but with depth for a horror film.
Now I know why I was so disappointed in the recent Split directed by M. Night Shyamalan: His horror flick was aiming for the expected twist without finesse and understatement . Get Out is assuredly aiming at the incendiary interracial flash point while it smoothly attends to issues of conformity and mind control in contemporary society.
This film, however, never loses its sense of humor when it regularly lards the narrative with cell phone conversations between Chris and his shlubby buddy, Rod (LilRel Howlery). It's hilarious use of ethnic humor to advance the plot and provide comic relief from the considerably-scary goings-on. I haven't laughed as heartily as this in a long time.
As amused as I was with Peele's virtuosity, I was perplexed that such a fine genre buffet as this should be released at dumping-ground movie-release time. Surprisingly as well, I have not been as vicariously scared in a long time perhaps because, stripped of its horror and humor, Get Out is about us all with our private prejudices fueled by our need to control others when we can't control ourselves.
Enjoy this rich amalgam of light-hearted hokum and genre mixing--or enjoy excellent filmmaking.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com