Get Out (2017) ☆☆☆(3/4): Guess who’s coming for weekend…

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Reminiscent of those sinister paranoid thriller films made during the 1970s, “Get Out” is willing to unnerve us as providing a fair share of suspense as well as the biting sense of black humor. During my viewing, I could not help but amused and thrilled as enjoying how it pushes its premise to generate several nice twisted moments coupled with thought-provoking aspects, so now I advise you not to read the following paragraphs although I will try as much as I can for avoiding any potential spoiler.

After the prologue scene which effectively sets the overall tone of the film, we meet Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, who will appear as one of the supporting characters in upcoming film “Black Panther” (2018)), a young promising photographer who has been in the relationship with a girl named Rose (Allison Williams) for a while. He and Rose are soon going to pay a weekend visit to Rose’s parents, and Chris is a bit nervous because of an apparent reason; He is black and she is white.

Although Rose assures him that her white parents are your average open-minded liberals who would vote for Barack Obama more than twice, Chris cannot entirely suppress his anxiety. Yes, it has been 50 years since “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967) came out, but interracial relationship is still a matter which instantly draws our attention even though it is more widely accepted at present, and Chris’ close friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery) makes a jolly fun of Chris’ uneasy circumstance during their phone conversation.

As a matter of fact, there is an acerbic moment when Chris and Rose talk with a local white cop due to an unfortunate incident on the road. Although Rose is the one driving their car, the cop demands Chris to show his driver’s license card, and Chris knows the reason too well. While watching this uncomfortable moment of unfairness, you may be reminded of how thousands of young American black males are frequently targeted by police officers just because of their race – and the tragic ramifications of this troubling tendency.

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Anyway, Rose and Chris eventually arrive in the house of Rose’s parents, which is located in the middle of some remote rural area. Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener) seem to have no problem with their dear daughter being with a black guy, but Chris cannot help but notice how Dean and Missy try a little too hard in front of him, and that awkward feeling is further increased when Rose’s brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) arrives at the house. During the dinner, Jeremy throws some blatant questions about Chris’ physicality, and that certainly makes everyone else at the table a bit uncomfortable.

In addition, there is something very strange about two black people employees, who, according to Dean, were hired when Dean’s diseased parents were alive. They all say they are fine with working for their white employers, but they look quite strained to Chris at times. Georgina (Betty Gabriel), who works as a housekeeper, looks mild and courteous at first, but she often looks cold and distant, and then there comes a weird moment when she seems to be on the verge of a sort of mental breakdown right in front of Chris. In case of Walter (Marcus Henderson), who works a groundkeeper, he seems to disapprove of Chris’ relationship with Rose while never saying that loud and clear, and he also has a rather bizarre habit as shown during one moment.

The situation becomes all the more unsettling as a special weekend party is held for a bunch of Dean and Missy’s friends, who are mostly, yes, affluent white people. They are all invariably nice to Chris, but Chris keeps noticing more strange things. When he happens to see a black guy who is apparently one of the party guests, he approaches to that guy out of curiosity, but he soon finds that guy is as odd as Walter and Georgiana, and we get a creepy moment as it turns out that, for some unknown reason, the guests are far more interested in Chris than they seem on the surface.

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The movie steadily dials up the level of tension with a number of tense moments shrouded in subtle menace. One crucial scene involved with a certain character’s professional skill is an exemplary case of how to spring a good surprise for the audiences, and I also like a mute but increasingly insidious scene where the camera slowly pulls back to reveal a major detail for suggesting what is really going on among a group of characters.

It surely helps that the performers in the film are convincing as required. While Daniel Kaluuya holds the center as we come to worry more about his character, Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener have lots of fun with their roles as keeping their appearance straight all the time, and Allison Williams is also believable as a girl who stands by her man as much as she can. Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, and Lakeith Stanfield are effectively disturbing in their respective supporting roles, and Lil Rel Howery provides a few relieving moments of laughs as functioning as a minor comic relief in the movie.

I must point out that “Get Out” starts to lose its narrative momentum around its third act like many thriller films, but the director/writer Jordan Peele, who has mainly been known for his partnership with Keegan-Michael Key in their sketch comedy TV series “Key & Peele”, did a competent job of mixing genre elements and social issues which are all the more relevant these days, and I think the movie will be frequently mentioned along with a number of recent notable American black films in the future. This is a darkly entertaining genre piece made with considerable skill and intelligence, and I hope that my review does not spoil your fun yet.

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