Now you’re in the sunken place.
With Get Out, Jordan Peele has established himself as more than just a talent to watch. It wasn’t exactly the whiplash turn a lot of people saw it as, Peele’s move to a taut genre picture from his brilliant sketch show with Keegan-Michael Key; one of the best things about Key & Peele was the pitch perfect genre spoofs that showed a masterful ability to hit all the necessary beats and create all the necessary mood. But this movie about a young black man who finds himself in progressively weirder territory when he visits his white girlfriend’s upper-class family is both a wonderful mystery-horror and also a thoughtful and devilishly clever exploration of race and identity. The cast is pitch perfect all down the line. Daniel Kaluuya is wonderful, charismatic and naturalistic in the lead role; all that nonsense about white audiences not being able to really empathize with a black lead actor is shown up as complete stupidity – you find yourself right there with him at every moment of the movie. LilRel Howery is hilarious as the comic relief. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener as the wealthy parents are inspired casting and they give nuanced, pitch perfect performances. Caleb Landry Jones is repulsive and terrifying as the wastrel son, while Allison Williams is charming and wonderful as the girlfriend. Betty Gabriel is particularly wonderful as the unsettling maidservant; she gives every other creepy servant in film history a real run for their money. And it’s always good to see Lakeith Stanfield again; he’s able to create, not one, but two really vivid characters in a very short amount of screen time. The writing is unbelievably sharp, finding really thought-provoking ideas to the degree that I was still realizing clever things Peele was saying a couple of days after I saw the film (for example, I’ll just say . . . picking cotton). And Peele’s visual style is strong, creating real atmosphere and moodiness. It’s really just a movie that works on every level and almost never puts its foot wrong. Get Out is a must see. Get on board with Jordan Peele now; he’s created both a masterful TV show and a masterpiece of a movie already and nothing he does from here will surprise me. 4 stars.
tl;dr – incredibly clever and subversive exploration of race and identity also functions as a taut and gripping thriller; a top-notch cast supports an already brilliant script and delivers the goods. 4 stars.