At first glance, Jordan Peele's Get Out looks and feels untouched by the popular comedian. The film represents a maturity on Peele's part, a departure from the subversive yet silly antics that characterized Key and Peele and, more recently, Keanu. During the months leading up to its release, many people were taken aback by the tension and....realness on display in the marketing. However, despite its hard-hitting message and cutting criticism, the film exercises a restraint that further reinforces the suspicion that Peele knows he can do more with less. It's this restraint that pushes his directorial debut from goodness to greatness; whenever a scene or a character strays too far from near-subtlety and into a more overt territory, he deftly redirects and defuses the tension building at an alarming but controlled rate. Get Out finds Peele at his absolute best, which is a high bar to clear considering his impressive resume and limitless talent.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) has been dating Rose (Allison Williams) for five months. When Rose invites Chris to her parents' rural estate, he is hesitant. She neglected to tell her parents that he was black, a topic he feels should have been brought up during initial discussions. Upon their arrival at her parents', Chris immediately feels welcome....in the worst way. The house and its inhabitants hide behind a veneer of pleasantness that's almost as unsettling as the truth they're so cleverly concealing.
Thankfully, the racial themes underpinning Get Out never once feel pointed or passive-aggressive. Peele's attention remains fixed on society itself and not on one particular group of people. At times, the execution creates the illusion that it's the other way around. However, Peele simply seeks to establish a deeper connection between himself and the audience by gifting us with a world viewed through his eyes. The interplay between whites and blacks in modern society isn't an uncommon topic of discussion by any stretch, but the comedian manages to infuse his directorial debut with an originality that makes the film thoughtful, while still retaining a necessary sense of fun.
Clocking in at just over 100 minutes, the film packs plenty of critique into its lean runtime, even as it manages to have some fun with its premise. The protagonist sports charm and charisma that are atypical of such a quiet, reserved character, becoming a hero we can get behind within minutes of the situation heading south. Kaluuya, a relative unknown whose credits include an episode of Netflix's Black Mirror and a minor role in Kick-Ass 2, proves himself a capable lead worthy of our affections and admirations.
There's something almost playful about the way Peele weaves his tale. The film boasts the aesthetic of a horror movie and the bite of sociopolitical commentary without ever force-feeding either to viewers. Instead, he gives audiences license to interpret what he's offering in any way we please. The brilliance of Get Out lies in its ability to tug us in two directions and have both rings true. It's this brilliance that makes Peele's foray into horror/thriller territory a winner.
GET OUT / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JORDAN PEELE / STARRING: DANIEL KALUUYA, ALLISON WILLIAMS, BRADLEY WHITFORD / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 17TH
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10