At the Movies with Alan Gekko: Get Out “2017”

MPAA Rating: R/ Genre: Horror/ Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Lil Rel Howery, Catherine Keener, Betty Gabriel, Marcus Henderson, Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Root/ Runtime: 103 minutes

I honestly feel movie goers that if you’re going to be jealous of somebody’s talent in Hollywood, while there is a long list of people I could mention, I feel Jordan Peele of Key and Peele fame and bravado now deserves a spot on that list as well. I say this because here is a man who was not content enough spending years establishing himself as one of the funniest human beings on the planet through not only his own show but also 5 seasons on Mad TV, and then decided to show the world that what he really wanted to do was direct, of all things, a horror movie. Indeed while to be fair this was a surprising development when he announced it at the time, I don’t think anyone knew then what quite to expect. So now Peele has finally made his directorial debut with this new suburban scare-fest called Get Out, and how has this endeavor panned out? Well movie goers lord and behold even at a time when we are regularly seeing fantastic horror hitting the big screen Peele has managed to do the unbelievable and give us a film that really truly is not just merely a good film, but a standout piece of shocking and entertaining art period.

The story is as follows: Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is a young black photographer who, after 4-5 months, is ready to take a big step in his relationship with his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams) and it is one that us guys dread quite a bit (even if I’m the only one admitting it): meeting her parents for the first time. Thus our hero, with girlfriend in tow, drive out to her family’s impressive estate for a weekend getaway, and the initial reception is surprisingly, incredibly if not awkwardly to a degree, warm, as both surgeon dad Dean (Bradley Whitford) and therapist mom Missy (Catherine Keener) do everything they can to make Chris feel welcome right down to Dean eagerly declaring that he would have voted for President Obama for a third term if it were constitutionally possible. Of course as the long weekend continues, however, and the family plans a massive annual get-together, Chris begins to notice that things aren’t quite normal as the only black people around are the groundskeeper, Walter (Marcus Henderson), and the housekeeper, Georgina (Betty Gabriel), and they act like they just landed from Mars. Plus Missy is also becoming insistence on helping Chris get rid of his bad smoking habit with a short hypnotherapy session. Of course, in proper horror film fashion, the intensity I have just described only escalates as time passes and it isn’t long before what started out as a relaxing weekend getaway will soon reveal itself as something much more sinister than Chris could ever have anticipated…..

Now to be fair it’s a rather difficult challenge for me to pin down the larger themes of Get Out not because I can’t, but because doing so would see me venture pretty deep into spoiler territory, and that is an area which I have no desire to visit out of respect to all of you fellow movie goers. With that being said though that nevertheless will not stop me from ascribing the acclaim to Jordan Peele’s work that it is properly due as even though modern interracial relationships are put in the spotlight in this film I feel that it should be noted that this movie is unique. I say that because not only does the film not contain a single what you might call Hollywood stereotypical racist, but it also does not possess any character who is honestly in any way shape, form, or fashion outwardly against the relationship between Chris and Rose because he’s black and she’s white. Instead the director/writer brilliantly decides to go a step beyond the typical with this film and decides to throw some new and surprisingly refreshingly unique thoughts out at the audience that not only never once beat us all over the head with it, but also do a ingenious job of letting the steadily-rising creepiness effectively swallow and envelop the atmosphere organically in the process.

Speaking of the atmosphere that the film creates, this really truly is not just a visually incredible film from a first time director, but really a stunning piece of cinema as a constructed whole. Indeed even though most of you will find that the movie’s standout moments are its visits to the amazing, paralyzing Sunken Place aka where Chris finds himself during certain moments of the film, I could honestly argue that the work from cinematographer Toby Oliver and first-time film composer Michael Abels is so fantastically done that they are even able to make a simple shot out of a car window feel just as impressively distressing as what will be the fan-favorite moments. Thus when you combine that with Jordan Peele’s impressive knack for tone, you get a film that is an elegantly repeated mix of eerie beauty, humorous beats, and accented shocks that will keep you entirely on the edge of your seat.

Now also doing a an absolutely amazing job of perpetually keeping you in the movie throughout the film’s 103 minute runtime is a fantastic cast starting with Daniel Kaluuya who impressively hides his British accent, which coincidentally I didn’t know he even had until I saw interviews, for a charismatic, terrific, and even relatable performance that should honestly be seen as his breakout leading role. We also get great albeit dependable work from veteran character actors Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener who use their innate affability to make for a very creepy pairing that manage to get inside your head and really start to make you question anything and everything that is going on as well as Stephen Root who does a wonderful job in his role as a blind art gallery owner despite possessing maybe 15 minutes of screen time tops. That being said though the one actor who truly is deserving of special attention, though, is Lil Rel Howery as Chris’ best friend, contact in the outside world, and TSA agent Rod Williams. The reason for this special mention really truly is because this guy completely and totally embraces the role of the comic relief and manages to steal every single scene he’s in. Trust me when I say he will have you laughing more than once whenever he pops up into the movie.

All in all the last 10+ years really truly have provided audiences with some truly stunning titles from first-time directors in the horror genre including The Babadook, The Witch and The Cabin In The Woods, but now we can honestly and proudly add Jordan Peele’s Get Out to that esteemed list. Indeed while Get Out may look like everything that it has just painted on the surface, this is a film which truly is an impressively rich and powerful execution of a smart, scare-packed premise. Yet while yes to be fair the film certainly takes cues from cinematic history, and could also be easily pitched as “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner if Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn tried to kill Sidney Poitier” this is a film which, thanks to a curiously playful sense of tone, absolutely fantastic performances from a game cast, and a sharp bite, will resonate with you long after you’ve left the theater. On a scale of 1-5 I give Get Out a solid 4 out of 5.

Upon reviewing the trailer I have realized that a lot of key moments in the film may be inadvertently spoiled while watching it thus ruining your enjoyment of the film; therefore I am definitely recommending that you do NOT watch the trailer until after you have seen the movie! Thank you for your continual love and support and I’ll see you guys….at the movies! Ag