Magazine article Variety

Get Out

Magazine article Variety

Get Out

Article excerpt

Get Out

Director: Jordan Peele

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener

"Guess Who's Coming 1 to Dinner" meets "The Stepford Wives" in "Get Out" in which a white girl brings her black boyfriend home to meet her parents, whose superficially warm welcome masks an unthinkably dark secret. Blending race-savvy satire with horror to especially potent effect, this bombshell social critique from first-time director Jordan Peele proves positively fearless but hardly scare-free. In fact, from the steady joy-buzzer thrills to its terrifying notion of a new way that white people have found to perpetuate slavery, "Get Out" delivers plenty to frighten and enrage audiences. But it's the fact that Peele doesn't pull a single one of his punches that makes his Blumhouse-backed debut a must-see.

First teased in a secret midnight screening at the Sundance Film Festival, "Get Out" is a searing political statement wrapped in the guise of an escape-thecrazies survival thriller à la "Deliverance" or "The Wicker Man," in which sympathetic characters are held captive by a deranged cult. Except in this case, the crazies are the liberal white elite, who dangerously overestimate the degree of their own enlightenment. Peele hasn't gone after the easy target (Trump supporters) but rather has fingered the same group that voted for Obama (and would've elected him to a third term, if they could have).

In theory, horror may seem a stretch for comedy star Peele (Comedy Central's "Key & Peele"), yet both genres feed on the desire to provoke a physical reaction from the audience. In "Get Out," the protagonist, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, most recently seen in "Sicario"), is an -> «- up-and-coming big-city photographer who has been dating a white girl, Rose (Allison Williams of "Girls"), for nearly five months - long enough that he can't wriggle out of an invitation to visit her family, even if the thought makes him nervous. "Do they know I'm black?" he asks.

Their love is color-blind, but the world isn't - and Chris is rightfully wary of how other people might react to seeing them together. When they get to Rose's folks' house, however, the Armitage family's reception couldn't be warmer. Played by Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford, Rose's parents are a hypnotherapist and a neurosurgeon who welcome Chris into their tastefully furnished home without so much as batting an eye.

But there's something off about the help. The live-in handyman, Walter (Marcus Henderson), and the housekeeper, Georgina (Betty Gabriel), are the only black people for miles around, and to Chris' eyes, they seem just a little too obedient, moving in an almost lobotomized daze. When not busy with household chores, Walter runs at top speed around the estate, while Georgina wastes long hours gazing at her own reflection - zombie-like behaviors whose significance eventually will be revealed but strike Chris (and the audience) as more than a little unsettling.

Equally unnerving are Chris' hyperpolite interactions with Mr. and Mrs. Armitage, who pretend not to notice their guest's skin color, while secretly congratulating themselves on how accepting they are. When Rose's father notes how proud he is that his dad ran alongside Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics - where the gold-medalist's wins put Hitler in his place - Chris is obliged to smile and nod. It's clearly not a story that would be shared if Chris were white, and it strikes the young man as weird, though his only way to reality-check the situation is to ask Rose (who's convinced that he's reading too much into everything) or else to call his black best friend, a worst-case-scenario-inclined TSA officer played by comedian Lil Rel Howery

Chris and Rose's ill-timed visit coincides with a big annual gathering that brings a bunch of rich people over for a picnic - all of them white, except for a token Asian and one black (Lakeith Stanfield), who audiences have seen abducted in the film's tone-setting opening scene. …

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