*** (three stars)
“Get Out” is the movie everyone’s been waiting to see. It’s the first feature film written and directed by Jordan Peele, part of the comedy team of Key and Peele; their sketch TV show on Comedy Central hit the cable waves in 2012, and ended in 2015.
“Get Out” can best be described as a comedy-horror film with a decidedly African-American point of view. The film begins with a young interracial couple planning a weekend getaway to visit the girlfriend’s parents. During a conversation about the upcoming trip, the girlfriend, Rose Armitage (played by Allison Williams) reveals to her boyfriend, professional photographer Chris Washington (played by 27 year old Daniel Kaluuya, a British actor, writer and comedian, born of Ugandan heritage) that she did not discuss with her parents that her boyfriend is Black. Daniel insists that she should reveal his race to her parents before his arrival in their hometown; Rose assures Chris that her parents are totally cool with Black people, and that her father ‘would have voted for Obama for a third term, if he were able to do so.” With dad’s ‘cool cred’ so firmly established, what could possibly go wrong?
Rose’s ‘cool cred’ is further established after she and Chris begin their trip by car to her hometown; they have a minor fender-bender, and are stopped by a highway patrolman. During the course of non-confrontational banter between Rose and the officer, the officer decides he needs to see Chris’s identification, even though Chris was not the driver of their vehicle. Rose asserts Chris’s civil rights directly in the face of the inquiring officer, while Chris tries to keep things light; Rose isn’t having any of it, and the officer backs down from his insistence on seeing Chris’s identification. Chris is quite pleased to know that his girlfriend is his fiercest ally in defending his civil rights. Although they each come from different experiences growing up in America, she understands the scrutiny many black males have to deal with in their everyday lives.
The pair arrive in her hometown soon enough. Her parents (Missy, a psychiatrist, and Dean, a surgeon) meet her at the door of their expansive home. Neither parent shows any outward shock or concern on their faces regarding Chris’s race. As Dean gives Chris a tour of the home, Chris notices that two persons employed to manage the property are both Black as well; Walter manages the grounds of the home, while Georgina, the maid, manages the cooking and cleaning. The behavior of both servants is very peculiar to Chris; Dean tells Chris that they were originally servants for his parents, and that when they died, well, gosh, “they just came with the house, and so we kept them on.” What else could such a loving, caring family do, when the servants are just like family?
The funny stuff takes off from there; Chris’s childhood friend, Rod, a TSA agent, is spoken to by Chris on several occasions over the phone and consulted about what Chris interprets as weird goings-on in the Armitage household. Rod (played very well by LilRel Howery, who steals every scene he appears in) has more sense than any ten people you would ever meet on the street. Rod’s common sense advice goes unheeded by Chris, who is suspicious not only of Rose’s parents, but many of the local townspeople as well. It’s quite a ride, funny yet scary, very enjoyable, and the kicker is, Peele managed to deliver this hilarious comedy-horror sendup on a shoestring budget of only---get this-$4.5 million. The film is being well received by both critics AND moviegoers, to the tune of $37 million taken in so far on its opening weekend. Definitely worth a look. Kudos to Jordan Peele on his maiden voyage into scriptwriting AND directing on the big screen. What a splash! I see bigger and better things to come for this talented young man.
Written and directed by Jordan Peele, 103 minutes. Rated R (some blood, some sexual references, and a quickly viewed nude backside).