4 Palm Trees out of 4
by Manuel Reynoso
Written and Directed by Jordan Peele, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, LaKeith Stanfield and Catherine Keener.
Black photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) travels to the suburbs to meet his white girlfriend’s affluent parents. What starts as an awkward family get together quickly becomes far more insidious.
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was stronger than I would have anticipated. To be blunt, I was never huge fan of the sketch show Key & Peele. So coming into Get Out slightly skeptical, I was pleasantly surprised how strong of a debut Peele has made with Get Out. It’s funny, scary, provocative, and at times, far too real. As difficult it is to swallow, Get Out brings to light the struggles of being a black man, in a white world.
For his first major motion picture directorial debut, Jordan Peele clearly already has a distinct style that lends itself very well to the thriller genre. He’s set up how ominous an otherwise docile suburban white family was in very clever ways. While letting striking imagery lead up to a very intense climax. Jordan Peele has definitely shown he has the chops to direct a major motion picture.
Peele’s Screenplay is where is strongest talents lie. Incorporating the black experience into an engaging mystery thriller with equal parts horror and comedy is absolute gold. The film twists and turns, terrifying us one moment, and making us laugh at loud the next. But Get Out’s biggest strength is in its pacing. The constant feeling of escalation and tension is so organically paced you will not notice yourself inching ever closer to the edge of your seat the whole time. Despite the constant escalation of dread, the comedy aspect never breaks this tension. Instead it is welcomed respite, saving you from becoming fatigued from the continuous tension.
The political nature of the screenplay was provocative and edgy, sadly I do believe it lets up on the political side of the film towards the end. Peele opted to have the climax be more intense and action packed, which while has its own strengths in the film, just left the political nature of the film feel a tad glossed over.
Outside the wonderful script, I would sum up the rest of the film as solid. Nothing else stood out as exceptionally praiseworthy. Daniel Kaluuya performance as the lead was definitely good but nothing I found all that exceptional. Cinematography was utilitarian, while the camera work presented the scenes nicely, I felt it could have better complimented the film’s striking and engaging imagery. I’m not putting down the film with these observations, just noting the film was not particularly exciting in these other aspects
Peele has made his intentions to create more films based on social demons loud and heard. And I for one am looking forward to these films very much. Get Out was very clear in it’s purpose to add a black perspective to the thriller genre. So if Get Out accomplished anything at all, it showed the power of storytelling from a perspective frequently ignored in mainstream media. And I for one want to see more.
1H44M rated R