Sunday, December 10, 2017
Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out is the story of young African-American who is in an interracial relationship with a white woman where she takes him to her family home where he makes an awful discovery. The film is a horror film set in a quaint American suburb where a young man realizes what is going on as it relates to the world of white liberals and their ideas of race. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, and Catherine Keener. Get Out is a thrilling and horrifying film from Jordan Peele.
The film follows an African-American photographer who reluctantly agrees with his white girlfriend to visit her family at their countryside home where he learns that the family’s African-American maid and groundskeeper act very strangely as is an African-American guest at an annual party. It’s a film that explore the idea of a world where a young man is about to go into a world that he isn’t sure would be receptive in as he arrives to this small countryside town where it is the opposite where he’s welcomed. Jordan Peele’s screenplay showcases why Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is reluctant to meet this family but he is calm by the reception he’s given though he notices a lot of odd things at the house where his girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) lives with her family that consists of her neurosurgeon father Dean (Bradley Whitford), her psychiatrist-hypnotist mother Missy (Catherine Keener), and younger brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones).
Dean and Missy may seem welcoming towards Chris as they both offer to help him quit smoking yet Jeremy is a little leery towards Chris. Jeremy doesn’t surprise Chris but it’s the housemaid Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson) who both sport these strange smiles just make Chris uneasy. When Missy converses with Chris, things take a weird turn as it relates to a tragedy in Chris’ life as it lead to moments that become offbeat to the guests Chris meets at this annual gathering Dean and Missy have every year. Notably as they’re largely white with the exception of an Asian and an African-American man named Logan (Lakeith Stanfield) who also acts odd as he’s in a relationship with a white woman 30 years older than him. The odd atmosphere and people Chris meets would have him asking many questions as it would lead to something darker prompting his best friend in TSA agent Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery) to make some chilling discoveries of his own.
Peele’s direction does have elements of styles in terms of the camera movements he creates as well as the element of surrealism that looms throughout the film. Especially in the opening sequence in which an African-American is at a suburb calling a friend telling him about some fucked-up shit as he notices a white car is driving nearby and some weird shit happened. Though the film is set at upstate New York with a few shots set in New York City, much of the film is shot on location in Fairhope, Alabama and the city of Mobile, Alabama as it play into this idea of an idyllic countryside home near the suburbs in an autumn setting. Peele’s usage of the wide shots play into the vast scope of the exterior of the house while he would use some dolly-tracking shots for some unique medium shots to get a look at the interiors of the house. It would play into something that is idyllic but there is still something off as Peele’s approach to the humor is restrained while the drama is also low-key and straightforward. The second act in which the annual party with all of these guests is definitely an intriguing sequence. Notably in that restrained approach to humor where there’s subtleties into what these guests are saying.
When a moment at the party becomes chilling, it does create that sense of intrigue that Chris is dealing with as it confirms that something has been off the moment he and Rose accidentally hit a deer on their way to Rose’s family home. Peele’s direction would leave behind small clues such as a door that’s left ajar in Rose’s room as well as the behavior of the housemaid and groundskeeper whenever they approach him. The film’s third act is definitely a horror film but not in a gory nor in a conventional sense in comparison with modern horror. Instead, Peele takes his time to let things unfold while balancing that with some humor involving Rod’s own discovery and his need to seek out help. It all play into these ideas of social classes and race relations where Chris is aware of the way things are but never would realize how far some people would go to ensure African-Americans’ place into 21st Century society. Overall, Peele crafts a very witty yet harrowing film about an African-American’s visit to his white girlfriend’s family home where it’s not what it seems.
Cinematographer Toby Oliver does excellent work with the film’s cinematography from the natural and colorful look of the daytime exterior scenes to the usage of low-key lights for the exterior scenes at night as well as other lighting schemes to play into the suspense and horror. Editor Gregory Plotkins does brilliant work with the editing as it doesn’t devolve into conventional horror editing techniques as it plays more into building up the suspense with its stylish edits while using some inventive montages to help play into the suspense and surrealism. Production designer Rusty Smith, with set decorator Leonard R. Spiers and art director Chris Craine, does fantastic work with the look of the Armitage family home as well as some of its rooms and the apartment that Chris lives with Rose where Rod is watching Chris’ dog. Costume designer Nadine Haders does terrific work with the costumes as it is quite straightforward with the exception of the posh clothes of the party guests as well as the clothes that Logan wears.
The visual effects work of Paul Baran does superb work with the visual effects as it is largely minimalist for the deer-hitting scene as well as these surreal sequences whenever Chris is under a state of hypnosis where he’s in this strange world. Sound editor Trevor Gates does amazing work with the sound as it play into the atmosphere of the party as well as the way Missy would stir her teacup with a spoon as it adds a lot to the sound design as it is one of the film’s highlights. The film’s music by Michael Abels is incredible for its mixture of low-key orchestral music mixed in with some Swahili-inspired chants that include bits of blues to play into the suspense and horror while music supervisor Christopher Mollere provides a fun soundtrack that mixes pop and hip-hop as it features cuts by Childish Gambino, Flanagan and Allen, and Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
The casting by Terri Taylor is great as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Richard Herd as Dean’s father, Erika Alexander as a detective that Rod goes to in the third act, Marcus Alexander as the groundskeeper Walter, Betty Gabriel as the housemaid Georgina, Lakeith Stanfield as the odd yet young African-American guest Logan, and Stephen Root in a superb small role as a blind art gallery dealer in Jim Hudson who is interested in Chris’ photos. Lil Rel Howery is fantastic as Chris’ friend Rod as a TSA agent who house-sits Chris’ apartment and his dog where he would get calls from Chris about the trip as he notices something is off when he doesn’t get any calls prompting him to start his own investigation. Caleb Landry Jones is terrific as Rose’s younger brother Jeremy as a young man that doesn’t seem fond of Chris as he wants to practice jujitsu moves on him while being too eager to play into the scheme that is unveiled in the third act.
Bradley Whitford is excellent as Dean Armitage as Rose’s father and a revered neurosurgeon who is warm to Chris while being very odd in the way he approaches or converses with Chris. Catherine Keener is brilliant as Missy Armitage as Rose’s psychiatrist/hypnotist who is also warm to Chris as she is intrigue into the tragedy of his life as she would use it as a tool to get him hypnotized. Allison Williams is amazing as Rose Armitage as Chris’ girlfriend as this young woman who epitomizes kindness and free-thinking as she understands Chris’ reluctance to meet her parents while there is something off about her when she’s at her parents’ home where she adds a layer of creepiness to her performance. Finally, there’s Daniel Kaluuya in a remarkable performance as Chris Washington as an African-American photographer who gets invited to meet his girlfriend’s parents as he tries to remain calm and collective but notices something isn’t right as it’s a very restrained performance from Kaluuya that would eventually become more chilling as the film progresses.
Get Out is a tremendous film from Jordan Peele. Featuring a great ensemble cast, an eerie music soundtrack, themes on race and social classes, and an inventive and witty script that is willing to create discussion. It’s a film that is definitely explores the ideas of racism in a modern context and how people perceive others who are different as well as what they want to do in a modern world. In the end, Get Out is a phenomenal film from Jordan Peele.
Jordan Peele Films: Us (2019 film) - Nope
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