by Sarah James
This past weekend, the highly anticipated horror film from writer and director, Jordan Peele, Get Out released in theaters. The film is wonderfully written and expertly cast as it tackles racism in a unique and thought-provoking manner.
Subtle characters played by a stand out cast
The cast for this film is absolutely phenomenal, with every actor providing stand out performances. Daniel Kaluuya stars as the protagonist Chris Washington, a black man visiting his girlfriend’s white family. He plays his character with incredible subtlety, adding to the suspense of the narrative with finesse. The cinematography supplements this, with shots focusing on his eyes alone, giving the audience a close up look and Kaluuya’s incredible acting. The entire film rests on his shoulders, and his performance does not disappoint.
Even the supporting cast was amazing; Allison Williams as Rose Armitage is a standout, and she expertly plays opposite of Kaluuya. Caleb Landry Jones plays Jeremy Armitage, Rose’s creepy younger brother, and his performance is also fantastic, adding to the unsettling air of the story with subtle glances and body language. TSA agent and best friend of Chris Washington, Rod Williams – played by LilRel Howery – was an excellent addition to this story as well, adding comic relief to serious moments but also serving as an intelligent and pivotal character.
Lakeith Stanfield, who played Andrew Logan King (the character who drops the title in the trailer), also provided an amazing performance; his character is the one who first shows signs of something darker happening, leading Chris in his thrilling journey. Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel were also fantastic as the two black servants to the Armitage family. All three of these characters were vital to the movie even with their limited screen time, and each actor did their part in telling this story.
A plot that keeps you thinking
…it takes certain stereotypes and looks at them from a different angle, twisting the situation into something new.
The plot and concept are fascinating, taking the idea that “white people are crazy” and turning it into a smart commentary of racism in today’s society. There are so many parallels to the slave trade throughout this film, and while some of these allusions are blatant, many of them are pretty subtle. The racial tensions and stereotypes thrust upon Chris throughout the film are uncomfortable, and add to the apprehension built during the narrative. This plot thrives on its subtlety; every character and every plot point adds to the unsettling suspense, even if you’re not entirely sure why. A single line or glance from a character can make you squirm.
Racism isn’t the easiest topic to cover. With modern movements like Black Lives Matter, some people may view this approach to talking about racism to be taboo or potentially offensive. Yet this movie does a lot more than emphasize “white people are crazy.” Rather it takes certain stereotypes and looks at them from a different angle, twisting the situation into something new. And this movie is full of its fair share of twists, each one more shocking than the next. The pacing, plot, and characters all culminate into a beautifully thrilling story.
There is also a seamless mix of comedy into this thriller, which is to be expected from the mind of Jordan Peele. It’s not an easy feat to combine horror and comedy, and most films that do so use gore and other visual stimulants to get a laugh, but Get Out does so through brilliant actors and a well-written script. This script is smart, full of both intellectual observations and quick wit.
Props that pop and sets that set the mood
Visually, this film is also remarkable. Between specific props, set pieces, and the cinematography, Get Out is easy on the eyes. Every aspect of the visuals adds to the suspense of the story, with certain props evoking a distinct fear of dread. For example, a simple teacup and spoon may seem insignificant at first but eventually becomes a vital part of the plot and a major obstacle in Chris’s path. The set of the Armitage house is also gorgeous, with the large, southern estate providing the perfect background to Chris’s discomfort. The scene where Rose’s father shows Chris around the house towards the beginning of the film is awkward and kind of creepy, but the house and its many secrets grow even darker as the movie goes on.
This film really benefits from not knowing a whole lot about it beforehand. All the promotional material is intriguing, yet remains vague enough to not really give anything away. The overall satire mixed with suspense, along with it’s amazing cast and production design, makes this move a must see.
Get Out is an expertly written and wonderfully acted thriller with a story that raises questions about racism in today’s society. Jordan Peele does not disappoint.