There’s something special about when a filmmaker releases his first film. I mean, ideally, that should be said for every film of every filmmaker, but “you always remember your first.” Whether it turns out good or bad, there’s a certain level of pride that can never be replaced or overshadowed by anything else a filmmaker does in the future. Hallmark greeting card sentiments aside, “Get Out” is the surprising first film of Jordan Peele.
I say surprising for a number of reasons. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Jordan Peele is half of the comedic duo known as “Key and Peele.” Over the last decade or so, they have made a respectable climb in sketch comedy with appearances on Mad TV and their show of the same name. So Jordan Peele decides to write and direct his own film, which isn’t uncommon for comedians of his caliber of success. Here’s the kicker… it’s a horror film, and an extremely clever horror film at that!
This is the story of Chris, a very talented photographer, and his girlfriend Rose. Chris is black. Rose is white. They are a couple who have been dating a few months and go on a road trip to visit Rose’s parents for the weekend. Like all guys, Chris is very apprehensive about meeting Rose’s parents for the first time, especially due to the fact that Rose hasn’t told her parents that he’s black. But Chris does his best to put a positive spin on it. Once they arrive, Rose’s parents welcome Chris with open arms, but is made a little uncomfortable by the black hired help in the house. Things get even stranger as he meets more of the parents’ friends for an annual party that they have. As the weekend progresses, the behavior of everyone around him gets weirder and weirder to the point of frightening. All the guests at the party are fascinated by his presence and ask him about the different dynamics about being African American in today’s society.
The whole cast blew it out of the water. I especially was creeped out by the scene at the dinner table between Chris and Rose’s brother, Jeremy, (played by Caleb Landry Jones.) I couldn’t help but see flashbacks of Tom Waits from “Seven Psychopaths” and yes, I’m going to say it, Heath Ledger from “The Dark Knight.” Stellar. Jordan Peele’s directorial vision and guidance resulted in a cast that delivered just the right amount of whatever emotion the scene required. The use of the comic relief character (in the style of Key and Peele that I know) was a welcome break from the tension of previous scenes, but I was also pleased with the relevance of his character throughout the whole script aside from just a comic relief.
Speaking of the script, it is brilliant filled with subtle but crucial plants and payoffs throughout the whole length of the movie. Every character mattered. Peele was able to write characters that really tap into real race-relation awkward discomforts in an especially tense time in the world today between people of various races and religions. A distorted, but believable prism of the world today. I also have to mention the soundtrack, composed by Michael Ables, which was hauntingly beautiful, clever, and memorable. It’s his first feature composition according to IMDB.
“Get Out” has catapulted to my favorite movie of 2017, and I anticipate for it to stay in my top 10, maybe even in my top 5 for the year. You should absolutely see it!