by Monica Hayes
After several years as one-half of the sketch-comedy team of Key and Peele, first-time writer/director Jordan Peele is no stranger to provocative material. His latest film, Get Out, is an incisive, cutting edge send-up of racial politics and has quietly emerged as one of the strongest early films of 2017.
Imagine being in a relationship and meeting your significant other’s family for the first time. Imagine being a black man meeting your white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Now, imagine that you are spending the weekend at their secluded estate in upstate New York, and your girlfriend neglected to tell her parents that she is dating a black man. Talk about uncomfortable and awkward!
Chris, (Daniel Kaluuya) an aspiring photographer and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) are off for the weekend to her parents’ home so they can meet the amazing man she has come to adore and love.
When they arrive, Chris sees red flags at every turn but ignores them because he is there to meet the folks and make a good impression. Soon, he is surrounded by one strange sight after another, including; the gardener who gives him the blank stare; the maid who seems to be a little off her rocker; Rose’s father, Dean (Bradley Whitford) who comes off as being really liberal and makes a point to say “I would have voted for Obama for a third time” not to mention being very racially inappropriate; Rose’s mother Missy, (Catherine Keener) who seems to be embarrassed with Dean’s off-kilter remarks, but hypnotizes Chris against his wishes to help him stop smoking; and then there is the brother Jeremy (Caleb Jones), the one who makes all the weird sensations go haywire. These are but just a few instances of the craziness Chris experiences in his short visit.
While talking with her parents, Rose finds out her parents are having a large party that weekend, but Chris appears not to mind. Once the guests arrive, Rose’s dad is more than happy to introduce Chris to everyone. Just when Chris starts to freak out about how many white people are at the party, he runs into Logan (Lakeith Stanfield) another young black man who is married to an older white woman and appears to feel at ease, but that feeling quickly disappears once the two converse. He can’t believe his eyes and tries to sneak a picture of Logan, but the flash goes off causing Logan to leap and scream “Get Out!” At this point, Chris can no longer ignore all the flags and asks Rose if they could leave which she agrees. The rest you are going to have to experience for yourself.
This is Peele’s first time behind the camera, but it feels like he is an old hand at direction. The way Rod (Lil Rey Howery) lays out the comedic one-liners, the jumps, the scares, and especially the racial undertones are done with the skill of an establish master behind the camera. Get Out is a combination of Sidney Poitier’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Twilight Zone and Invasion of the Body Snatchers all wrapped up in a tense psychological thriller.