Get Out is one of the years’ best films. It uses the horror film platform as an opportunity to explore race relationships, social injustice, and classism all while providing a most satisfying movie-going experience. This is a stunning directorial debut from Jordan Peele, the actor/comedian best known for the eccentric sketch comedy series Key & Peele, who does a deft job of navigating tricky narrative waters. It’s also a star-making showcase for lead actor Daniel Kaluuya.
Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is an African-American photographer who reluctantly agrees to meet the family of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). The interracial couple has been invited to stay the weekend in upstate New York with Rose’s brother Jeremy and their parents, neurosurgeon Dean (Bradley Whitford) and hypnotherapist Missy (Catherine Keener). The Armitage family attempt to make Chris feel welcome despite the racial divide, but their increasingly strange behavior are discomforting. Then one night Missy pressures Chris into a hypnotherapy session to cure his smoking addiction. In a trance and sinks into a void, Missy calls the “sunken place”. The next morning, he assumes the encounter was a dream, but cigarettes now repulse him.
Chris doesn’t realize that he’s being manipulated nor that the dozens of wealthy white people attending the Armitage’s annual get-together are there to bid on his body. These financially and politically powerful Caucasian families are beholden to Dean and Missy due to their knowledge of transplanting the brains of white people into black bodies; the consciousness of the host remains in the sunken place, conscious but powerless.
You might not expect to find strong acting in a horror thriller but Get Out is a rare exception. This picture features five strong performances in the lead and supporting categories. The actors and actresses are working from a taut script from director Jordan Peele and the film doesn’t have a wasted scene or moment. Much needed comic relief is provided by Lil Rel Howery as Chris’s best friend, Rod Williams. Get Out instantly establishes Jordan Peele as a premier storyteller and masterful craftsman of the genre.
Director: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford