Film review: Get Out
Playing out in impoverished interiors and ostentatious exteriors Get Out is a doctor’s scalpel. Powerful and precise and revelatory the disconcerting tale about a romance-turned-nightmare exposes hypocrisy and prejudices bubbling away in black-and-white America beneath the (not-so-quiet) surface.
There are holes riddled all over the plot, sure, but because the film is well-acted and the soundscape (Joshua Adeniji is the sound effects editor) such a stealth weapon you don’t mind a bit of fantasy. The twang of trepidation, in fact, makes you almost grateful for the un-realness.
African-American photographer, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), has been dating Rose (Allison Williams) for a while, and the time has come for him to meet her folks.
At their magnificent country manor, with rambling gardens and smooth lawns, the warmth and hospitality of Dean (Bradley Whitford), a neurosurgeon, and Missy Armitage (Catherine Keener), a psycho-hypnotherapist, seem to reinforce Rose’s earlier attempts to allay Chris’ misgivings about his race. Yet, for all the enthusiasm and liberal-minded talk, the household is served by two black domestic-helpers, whose peculiar behaviour he finds impossible to interpret.
Soon enough, the suave New-Yorker realises he will have to leave the premises come hell or high water, which he does, but not before a great deal of blood has been spilled.
A directorial debut by Jordan Peele, Get Out bewitches with a biting satire about the way white people may abuse their position and exploit the softer nature of others, using indoctrination or outright manipulation to their own advantage.
A horror story — unexpected twists of events betray a strong whiff of Hitchcockian cruelty — the movie pulls no punches on the practice of cherry-picking of the black culture by their fair-skinned counterpart. What is the most unsettling for me, though, is Rose’s sudden and absolute transformation, like land blackened by an everlasting eclipse.
“Get Out!” turns out to be a desperate warning rather than an order. And even if it presents perhaps an uneven perspective of a society riven by racial tensions, the portrait of uneasy peace is deftly drawn. Diplomacy, after all, is not what the narrative hankers after; it just wants the surrender of your skull.