Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: Get Out

Get Out
Cert: 15 / 104 mins / Dir. Jordan Peele / Trailer

Oh. March. The third month of the calendar-year, just after the earnest hand-wringing of the Oscars and before the deafening explosions of the Summer blockbuster, is regularly the release-window for substandard weirdness (cf 2016, 2015, 2014), indeed that's what we've come to expect. But even I'll admit that the trailer for the Blumhouse-produced Get Out looked like it could be set to buck that trend by bringing far more to the party than was expected of it...

Setting off for to meet his girlfriend Rose's affluent white parents for the first time, young photographer Chris is already fairly trepidacious as they haven't been told he's black. When they arrive however, the atmosphere is weirder than even he imagined; the parents are nothing but welcoming, yet something is very, very wrong. As the weekend progresses, tensions rise and strange events escalate, but will Chris solve the puzzle, or just be one of the pieces?

A combination of a particularly heavyweight awards season and an off the cuff comment by someone who should really know better has perhaps written a reputational cheque that Jordan Peele didn't realise he'd need to cash. Don't get me wrong, this is certainly a good film but I'd struggle to call it more than that. Third-act silliness prevents Get Out from being quite as incisive as it'd like. In terms of Satire™, the film is more of a sledgehammer than a scalpel, although obviously some nuts are harder to crack.

But great performances from Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams as the central couple are key to the film's cinematic efficiency. The supporting cast range from textbook to scenery-chewing, but they're largely fine given the context of the film. Unexpected praise also goes to LilRel Howery as the 'funny best friend on the end of the phone' archetype, who is far better than a film like this would normally allow (although he does more than his share of plot-lifting, too).

Leaving aside the obvious current socio-political relevance, the mechanics of the movie are... well, pretty mechanical. The creeping paranoia is implemented fantastically, being psychological rather than supernatural. Foreshadowing plot-points are meticulously laid out and counted neatly back in again although never with a heavy-hand, a move which should make re-watching the film workable (no mean feat with this narrative structure). Get Out is a big fan of traditional jump-scares too though, which lets down a screenplay that's clearly more self-aware than its contemporaries. None of it's badly done, but this certainly feels like Jordan Peele has managed to paint an interesting picture using the same old worn out brushes we've seen other artists use.

All in all, Get Out is more than reasonable, although I'm already worrying about the movies which will try ride in its slipstream.

But if the weight of real-world politics is perhaps putting you off this psych-horror, don't worry too much; the film features an almost unhealthy amount of Microsoft product placement. Now I'm someone who raises an eyebrow when everyone on-screen uses devices with an Apple logo on them, but seeing the MS/Windows branding this much, all in the same place? Rest assured, you're watching fiction...

And this is a thing as well, mind…

Seriously, no need.

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
The People Under The Stairs, The Purge, Would You Rather.
And let's face it, Being John Malkovich.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
For full tension, yes.
If you already have any kind of hearing-damage, no

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It does.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Probably not best, but it'll be one of the best-remembered.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: Daniel Kaluuya also appeared in Sicario, alongside Benicio 'as-yet unnamed character from The Last Jedi' Del Toro.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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