Sunday, 30 April 2017

Film Review: "Get Out" (2017).





"Just because you're invited, doesn't mean you're welcome." This is Get Out. This American comedy horror film written, produced and directed by Jordan Peele, in his directorial debut. The film follows Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, who have now reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with her family. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behaviour as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined. 

The film is the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, and marks a genre shift for him, as he has traditionally worked in comedy, although he has stated that he had been wanting to make a horror film for a while. He stated that the genres were similar in that "so much of it is pacing, so much of it reveals", noting that he considers that comedy gave him "something of a training" for the film. Peele first got the idea during 2008 Democratic primary discussions about whether an African American or a woman was more deserving of the presidency. Peele explained that he wrote the screenplay during Obama’s first term, when racism was believed to be a thing of the past. He thought there wouldn’t be much interest for his movie in such an optimistic climate, so he wrote it mainly for himself. But with the increasing discussion regarding violence against African-American and the coming of the Black Lives Matter movement in later years, he knew the time was right to make the movie. This idea then evolved when he had a conversation with Eddie Murphy, during a stand-up comedy show, about Murphy going to meet his Caucasian girlfriend's parents. Peele even originally considered Murphy to play the lead role before it was decided Murphy was too old for the role. He then was inspired by Night of the Living Dead (1968) and The Stepford Wives (1975). Peele later explained that the latter film is "a horror movie but has a satirical premise." As the film deals with racism, Peele has stated that the story is "very personal", although he noted that "it quickly veers off from anything autobiographical." Prior to the film’s release, Peele was worried about its chances of success, in an interview with Los Angeles Times, "I thought, ‘What if white people don’t want to come see the movie because they’re afraid of being villiainized with black people in the crowd? What if black people don’t want to see the movie because they don’t want to sit next to a white person while a black person is being victimized on-screen?'" However, Peele noted that much of his fear was due to "the darkness of my imagination." By February 2016, Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root and Catherine Keener were cast. Principal photography on the film began in February and wrapped in March on a twenty eight day shooting schedule. Locations included Fairhope and Mobile, Alabama. Originally, the film was supposed to shoot in Los Angeles, California. However, due to budget cuts, the production was ultimately forced to decide upon Alabama as the last-minute decision. In an interview, Peele explained: "We were going to shoot this movie here in Los Angeles until about a month before we were set to shoot, and then I got a call saying we had to figure out somplace else for tax reasons. [It was a] gigantic curveball, and a real lesson that sometimes blessings come in strange packages. Because I think the movie is what it’s meant to be. I think it might be a better movie than we would’ve done here in LA. Also just a big lesson that you can get past the insurmountable." 

The film stars Kaluuya, Williams, Howery, Whitford, Landry Jones, Root and Keener. The cast gave terrific performances. The cast have absorbed enough TV, or have such an instinctive feeling for those racially profiled victims and the West Wing liberals, that they manage all by themselves to bring a certain ambivalent, helpless and comically twisted edge to the film's message about African-American people in a White dominated America.

Get Out is one of the most disturbing movies ever made – and when you leave the theatre you may wish you could forget the whole experience. The film is both terrifying and smart, featuring a highly original script. The film’s basic premise is terrifying, but it is the film’s execution that makes it all the more horrifying. Jordan Peele’s remarkable debut, made on a surprisingly low budget, about an African American man visiting his Caucassion girlfriend’s family in the outskirts, deflates all genre clichés. Rare is the movie where the last half hour surprises you just as much as the first, and in ways you were not expecting. The movie has ideas enough for a half a dozen films, but Peele and his cast handle them so surely that we’ve never felt hard-pressed; we’re entrhralled by one development after the next. The film maintains a satisfying level of suspense, and if nothing else beats the stuffing out of the lame horror films in theatres this year so far. It is a reflection on a society that may be liberal, but it is doing more harm than good just like their conservative counterparts. It is critical of the liberal racism as a petri dish where conservative racism are cultivated and preserved. Kaluuya's increasingly frantic but reliably strong-willed performance makes him an ideal subject as an everyday African-American in a White dominated microcosm of America. It is realistic horror at its best - truly creepy. Absolutely one of the most excitingly films of the year, and of the decade.

Simon says Get Out receives:


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