The following review is spoiler-free.
Wow. I’ll say it now. I’ll say it at the end of this review.
Go see “Get Out.”
I didn’t know much about “Get Out” going in, and the movie is best enjoyed this way. Without discussing specifics, “Get Out” is a horror-comedy about the worst possible “meet the parents” scenario. Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris Washington, a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. The movie smartly plays on issues of racism and general stereotypes, and uses both of these elements for both its horror and comedy.
On that note, “Get Out” is more thriller than horror. In the same way that I don’t consider last year’s “Don’t Breathe” a horror movie, “Get Out” aims for tense, white-knuckled scenes rather than jump scares or ghastly, nightmarish visuals. While “Get Out” is certainly scary at some points, I wouldn’t call it horror. This is not a critique however, because much like “Don’t Breathe,” “Get Out” is one of the most surprising and enjoyable film experiences I’ve had in recent months.
The most important takeaway from “Get Out” is what an amazing directorial debut it is for Jordan Peele. “Get Out” oozes confidence in every decision it makes. From the very beginning, the movie quickly establishes its fine balance of comedy and tension. Jordan Peele’s directorial choices, like having the opening scene filmed in one deliberate take, are a delight. “Get Out” has a clear style, and the thought that this is Peele’s first movie as a director is extremely exciting.
Peele’s history with his sketch comedy show “Key & Peele” shows throughout “Get Out.” The film is constantly funny, whether it’s through dialogue, facial expressions, or visual gags. The movie never drags, but it definitely gets better as the plot begins to reveal itself. The same can be said about the comedy, as the jokes increase as the plot becomes stranger.
And without a doubt, the plot is weird. Any movie that contains horror, comedy, hypnosis, and the mind of Jordan Peele will be. But as aforementioned, “Get Out” executes its various plot twists with such confidence that they make sense. In fact, the movie is so well-written that repeated viewings will be rewarded for the sake of seeing the hints at the film’s big twists.
The plot handles difficult themes like racism without ever losing sight of its identity as a horror-comedy film, and that is what makes “Get Out” so good. The film’s big reveal, in terms of the antagonist’s motivations, says something about the relationship between black and white people. This fact is even better because “Get Out” never directly says its message. But by assuming its audience can figure it out for themselves, the film is even better for it.
The film’s writing is carried by its excellent cast. Daniel Kaluuya is the clear highlight. His acting and delivery made me laugh out loud, emit nervous profanity, and shout victorious hooray’s. Kaluuya has believable chemistry with his on-screen girlfriend Rose, played by Allison Williams. This is essential for the plot to work, and their relationship is very believable. The other cast member worth mentioning is undoubtedly Lil Rel Howery, who plays a friend of Kaluuya’s Chris. Without spoiling Howery’s role in the plot, every single scene his character is in is hilarious.
The final point worth making about “Get Out” is its restraint. No joke gets overused. Tension-building devices are never repeated. And most importantly, violence and gore is saved for the most important moments. This restraint pays off when these elements are utilized, as they make a palpable effect on the viewing experience.
Also, shoutout to the use of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” in the opening credits. I will never get sick of that song.
“Get Out” is hilarious, scary, and tense. The fact that it balances these elements so effortlessly is a testament to how great it is. With only one movie, Jordan Peele has managed to prove his talents as a writer and director. His movie is able to tackle weighty topics like racism, while still managing to be entertaining. The film’s cast is spot-on, and together, their talent contributes to the movie’s hilarious and terrifying “What the heck is going on” plot. Daniel Kaluuya will no longer be known as “that guy from that one okay episode of Black Mirror,” as he is able to showcase the entire acting gamut in one role. With all of its amazing elements put together into a final product, the movie is smartly written, smartly directed, and was even smartly advertised (an uncommon thing these days). “Get Out” is, plain and simple, a smart movie. Go see it.