Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key are best known for their work on their sketch show, Key and Peele, which is on Comedy Central (I know this because I see it advertised when I watch Friends for the 1000th time). Key has starred in many supporting roles in multiple movies and the pair starred and wrote the enjoyable Keanu. This time Jordan Peele is in the directing chair (Key makes a small cameo appearance) helming one of the best reviewed films of the year thus far.
Rose (Allison Williams) and Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) have been together for almost five months, and Chris is about to meet Rose’s parents for the first time. A nerve-racking situation (you want to make a good first impression) compounded by the fact that Chris is black, and Chris is concerned about Rose’s white parents’ reaction to him. When Chris arrives at the splendid Armitage home, Rose’s parents (played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) seem nice, but for one or two oddities, particularly the odd behavior of their black servants. However, under this odd exterior is something much more sinister.
Get Out is like a film where Guess Whose Coming to Dinner is some strange horror film about an odd cult. You get the reactions from the parents who, whilst not seemingly racist, display an ignorance about how to react and connect to a black person. Saying that you know Tiger Woods and would have voted Barack Obama for a third time is perhaps not the way go. The film derives much of its humour from the mostly well-meaning ignorance of certain white people whose lack of integration with black people causes them to act in a way that’s absurdly amusing to others (the casual mention of Tiger Woods when discussing golf is a highlight).
Jordan Peele obviously has a serious topic to discuss, and like a lot of comedians he uses humour to get that message across. The film looks at racism at several different levels, from simple ignorance to the slightly more problematic issue where black people are frequently treated suspiciously under the eyes of the law (it’s not often a sight of police car feels you with dread). Daniel Kaluuya, nailing the American accent, is terrific, nailing the exasperation at the tiresome and repetitive displays of ignorance.
However, this isn’t a modern remake of Guess Whose Coming to Dinner, there’s something sinister going on and director (and writer) Jordan Peele shows he has an understanding of how the horror genre works with well-timed jump scares and effective chills. From the get go, the behavior of the parents and the two black workers creates an uneasy atmosphere, it’s obvious that something is amiss. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener ramp up the tension with their creepy performances, and Lil Rel Howery brings some welcome comic relief with his performance. With the film’s themes, Get Out an original and interesting concept even if the gory finale feels a bit ‘mainstreamy’