I heard good things about this, being a horror movie and all. And I tend to be very skeptical of horror films, because most of them suck. As it turns out, this did nothing to surprise me in that regard, because I don’t think of this as a horror film. It’s a suspense/thriller, plain and simple. And it’s a solid one.
I must admit, I initially didn’t want to see it because it’s theme focuses on racism, something I suspected when I saw the teaser trailer. Let’s just say I’m kinda sick of the “racism” theme in movies nowadays, especially from leftist Hollywood. Films like Hidden Figures irritated me in that regard with how they addressed it. I plan on writing an article that goes in-depth with films addressing racism in the near future, as well as my actual thoughts on Hidden Figures.
But as for this film, Get Out, it actually handled the subject matter in a way that I actually enjoyed. It still does the whole, “White people are too mean, black people are too awesome,” message, but it does so tongue in cheek, satirical, and in-your-face. It’s like it was intentionally made more to offend and/or entertain with very (very) dark humor rather than carry on a message of sympathy, and for that I give the movie props. Not only surprisingly refreshing in it’s method, but it’s directed extremely well. Plenty of long takes, very few quick cuts, and only a couple jump-scares. Thank Christ for thrillers that don’t overuse jump-scares. That being said, there was one instance where I thought the film could’ve done without the “BAM! HAHAHAH! I SCARED YOU DIDN’T I!?” sound effect with this one moment in the house at dark where a figure walks by in the background. Unnecessary, considering how the film’s atmosphere is all about the encroaching dread, the growing discomfort. Putting a jump scare (sound effect) in the middle of that breaks the unease. It would’ve been better if it just allowed the unease to continue to grow more naturally to the point where it threatens to make the viewer become unbearably uncomfortable with the tension. There is no such thing as too much tension in a thriller. There is either a point where the tension becomes monotonous and thus fades away, or so much tension that the film more than succeeds at being a thriller that accomplishes its job. It’s just a nitpick in regards to that one instance, just so you know. The anti-comfort levels of this movie ratchet up perfectly. It’s wonderful.
The lack of comfort comes from the black boyfriend coming to and meeting the white girlfriend’s white family, and how the racial tension and unease continually grows from the interactions. Not to mention the camerawork is done marvelously, always highlighting people and objects that are important for the moment, little things that only heighten the tension in subtle yet significant ways. How the mother hypnotist uses her spoon. How the maid pours the tea. The facial reactions to what people hear and say. This is A+ class directing from Jordan Peele.
Wait a minute, THAT Jordan Peele? As in Peele from Key and Peele? The Peele that did that song Shot in the Dick? Wow, color me impressed. I didn’t think he was capable of being this good of a director.
Also worth mentioning is a quote from the actor Daniel Kaluuya, and from the director:
This film is how racism feels. You get paranoid and you can’t talk about it. You can’t voice it. No one around you gets it, so you can’t speak about it. And in the end it just comes out in a rage. — Daniel Kaluuya, actor
Part of being black in this country, or being a minority in this country, is about feeling like we’re perceiving things that we’re told we’re not perceiving. It’s a state of mind. It’s a piece of the condition of being African American, certainly, that people may not know. They may not realize the toll that it does take — even if the toll is making us doubt ourselves. – Jordan Peele, director
Certainly a worthy message. Racism is something that should be addressed, something that should be talked out loud about. Someone could say something that applies to one race or another, whatever the topic is, and someone can just shout out, “You’re racist!” in an attempt to silence them or else fear repercussions from others. Something that happens too often in society, both to black people, and white people, and brown people (or whatever the hell color Mexicans are supposed to be). If nothing else, I don’t think people should stay silent about discussing racism just for the sake of being able to joke about it. I want more racist jokes out there, against ALL races! Case in point for the rest of the review.
I also picked up fairly early on what exactly was going on here plot-wise. When I saw how strange the black servants were acting around the house, and how they said the mother is a good hypnotist, I put two and two together just like that. But I don’t think that should be considered a negative on the film’s part. Considering what the actor and director said about the movie, about being aware of the racism around you and saying nothing, that just drives the theme forth even more.
Now, you must understand here, the main plot is about a white community that abducts black guys and brainwashes them (among other things I won’t mention here). You see what I mean about this film just diving head-first into the racism subject matter with full blown “as dark as they are black” humor? Granted, there’s also subtle indications that they do this to some white people too, the directing focuses on small clues that hint at this aspect, but the main focus is on white people kidnapping and brainwashing black people. I respect it for that. Hell, I was entertained by it because of that, among the other elements, such as the acting and the music (did I not also mention the directing?). Oh, right, the music. There’s this tune that plays at the beginning and end of the film that sounds like some tribal African chant. Words sounded something like, “Visa sinking. Babayega (Boogeyman). Visa sinking. Babayega.”
So yeah, this movie is solid. I’d even dare to say it’s great. Recommended.
PS: You know, the tackling of racism is somewhat daring and all. But something tells me it would be a lot more daring and controversial if they reversed the racism angle on this. I would love to see a movie where black people kidnap and brainwash white people. In the film Get Out, it’s for reasons that have to do with taking advantage of blacks being physically superior to whites (and a subtle nod to being better and shooting pictures, you sly devil Peele you). So in some sequel named Get Out 2: The White Man Strikes Back, I’d expect the white man getting kidnapped and brainwashed so they take advantage of his white privileges and white riches. I’d like to see the controversy erupt over that film. I want racism to fly in all directions!