Get Out

 

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A timely commentary on the racial divide in America marks an impressive directorial debut for the comedian Jordan Peele.

 

Get Out

Race against time: Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya

 

Racism comes in many shapes and sizes. The racism depicted in this claustrophobic thriller is of the insidious, patronising kind. It is both deadly and dishonest. And at a time when American intolerance is exhibiting a new face to the world, Get Out would prove to be a timely commentary on the game of colour discrepancy.

 

It’s a disquieting, jet-black horror film that marks the directorial debut of, of all people, the comedian Jordan Peele. But it is a highly accomplished one. Peele, who previously co-starred in the limp gangsta farce Keanu, not only directed Get Out but also co-produced it and wrote the screenplay. It is truly his baby. And it should be pointed out that Peele is the son of a black father and a white mother. In this case, it matters.

 

A horrific contemporary love story set against a Deep South Stepford Wives backdrop, the film stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington, a photographer who has been dating Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) for five months. And the time has come to introduce him to her family. However, Rose hasn’t told her parents that her new boyfriend is black, but assures Chris that they will take his colour in their stride. Besides, her father voted for Barack Obama and would have kept him in the White House for a third term if he could have. Even so, this is Alabama, and it’s hardly known for being the most open-minded state.

 

When Chris is introduced to Dean and Missy Armitage (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener), he is welcomed with open arms and Obama is duly praised for his presidential skills. However, the Armitages’ black groundsman and black maid don’t seem to be the full ticket and Chris senses that all is not right at the Armitage mansion…

 

What follows makes for uneasy viewing as everyone seems so caring and everything seems so credible. But Michael Abels’ music would suggest otherwise. Perhaps the director’s greatest coup is in the casting of Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams as his star-cross’d lovers. Kaluuya is the London-born Brit who recently drew the ire of Samuel L. Jackson for stealing a role perhaps better suited to “an American brother.” He is, though, the soul of the film. He brings both a gentleness and sweetness, as well as charm, to Chris, making Rose’s love for him entirely believable. Likewise, Allison Williams is a real find, whose Rose is both playful and intelligent and drop-dead gorgeous. She surely is a major star in the making.

 

Interestingly, the film shares a number of elements with the recent A Cure for Wellness, not least its shifts in tone, a run-in with a deer and the viewer’s mounting urge to scream “get out!” However, at a fraction of the price of Gore Verbinski’s overblown B-movie (and 43 minutes shorter), Get Out punches adeptly above its weight. And while Peele plays out his nightmarish scenario completely straight for maximum effect, his commentary on the race divide has very sharp satirical teeth.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Catherine Keener, Lil Rel Howery, Betty Gabriel, Marcus Henderson, Erika Alexander.

 

Dir Jordan Peele, Pro Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr, Sean McKittrick and Jordan Peele, Screenplay Jordan Peele, Ph Toby Oliver, Pro Des Rusty Smith, Ed Gregory Plotkin, Music Michael Abels, Costumes Nadine Haders.

 

Blumhouse Productions/QC Entertainment/Monkeypaw Productions-Universal Pictures.

103 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 17 March 2017. Cert. 15.