Monday, December 31, 2018

Review: "Get Out" is a Cinematic Revolution

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 11 (of 2018) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Get Out (2017)
Running time: 104 minutes (1 hour, 44 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references
PRODUCERS:  Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Sean McKittrick, and Jordan Peele
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Toby Oliver (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Gregory Plotkin
COMPOSER: Michael Abels
Academy Award winner


Starring:  Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, Richard Herd, Erika Alexander, Yasuhiko Oyama, and Lil Rey Howery

Get Out is a 2017 horror and mystery-thriller written and directed by Jordan Peele.  At the 90th Academy Awards, Peele became the first African-American to win the “Best Original Screenplay” Oscar.  Get Out follows a young African-American man who travels with his white girlfriend to her parents' rural estate and discovers weirdness and ultimately horror.

Get Out introduces Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young Black man and a photographer.  He has reluctantly agreed to meet the family of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). From the beginning of the trip, strange things occur.

Upon arriving, Chris discovers that Rose's parents, Dean Armitage (Bradley Whitford), a neurosurgeon, and Missy (Catherine Keener), a hypnotherapist, are nice, but make discomfiting comments about black people.  Rose's brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), is especially inappropriate.  Chris finds that housekeeper, Georgina (Betty Gabriel), and groundskeeper, Walter (Marcus Henderson), black workers on the Armitages' estate, are the most troubling of all.  After experiencing a distressing event involving Missy, Chris feels himself being trapped into something both surreal and horrifying.

Get Out is one of the most unsettling films that I have ever seen.  As an African-American and as a Black Man, specifically, I find that so much of Get Out seems to strike at my deepest fears and even at my most annoying worries.  Proverbially, this film hits “close to home.”  Get Out is essentially an allegory for the African diaspora and for the slave trade that brought stolen and captured African men, women, and children from the African continent across the Atlantic to the Americas, where they became chattel slaves.

Yes, writer-director Jordan Peele (called “mixed race” because he has a both a black and a white parent) dresses up his allegories, metaphors, similes, and symbolism in the tropes of American dark fantasy and horror films (especially those of the 1970s).  Still, his film, like quick blows in a really short fight, lays bare the cold calculations of capturing and enslaving Black people.  This is the banality of evil communicated in practicalities and practical realities.

In the final analysis, Get Out is also a great horror movie, as scary as one in which the monster, killer, or adversary uses knives, machetes, crossbows, axes, hooks, meat cleavers, etc. to kill its victims.  Many people have commented that Get Out is a criticism of white liberals, and there is some truth to that, but not as much as people think.  The villains here are white people who make living in America unsafe for African-Americans, Black people, and people of color.

Jordan Peele and his fine cast, especially Daniel Kaluuya, who embodies much of the modern Black man's existential crisis, deliver a film that is richly entertaining and is too-damn-scary to be just another horror movie.  Most of all, Get Out's truths are so true that I wonder how Peele and his cast and crew got away not only with making it, but also with sharing it with the world, especially with the United States of America.

10 of 10

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

2018 Academy Awards:  1 win: “Best Original Screenplay” (Jordan Peele); 3 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., and Jordan Peele), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Daniel Kaluuya), and “Best Achievement in Directing” (Jordan Peele)

2018 Golden Globes, USA:  2 nominations: Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Daniel Kaluuya

2018 BAFTA Awards:  2 nominations: “Best Screenplay (Original)” (Jordan Peele) and “Best Leading Actor” (Daniel Kaluuya)

The text is copyright © 2018 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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