Movie Review: “Get Out”
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) have been dating for five months and it is time for Chris to meet Rose's family, so the two plan on spending the weekend at Rose's parents house. Chris is initially nervous that there will be racial tension, but Rose does her best to reassure him and convince him into going. Once at the house, Chris is the recipient of some awkward comments from the family and as the weekend goes on, strange things start to unfold. The black men and women working at the house are acting very weird, Rose's mother (Catherine Keener) is a psychiatrist that practices hypnotism, Rose's father (Bradley Whitford) is a passive racist, and Rose's brother (Caleb Landry Jones) is a loose cannon. All of these things lead to Chris having a bad case of racist paranoia, so he must determine: what is wrong with the people in this house, is this family really racist, how much danger is he in, and how can he Get Out.
The Pros & Cons
The Acting (+8pts)
The Mystery (+5pts)
Trailer Syndrome (-1pts)
Pro: The Acting (+8pts)
This movie is filled with good actors giving good performances. The best performances came from the actors who played the workers at the house, specifically the actress who played Georgina (Betty Gabriel). These actors had to play very complex characters (you will understand why I say that if and when you have seen the movie). This movie depends on these actors playing their characters in a convincing way. With all of the "switches" and craziness, this movie just does not work if the audience cannot believe in these characters. The "switches" (again, you will know what I mean if and when you have seen the movie) need to seem natural and need to be convincing. Betty Gabriel was a huge standout in this movie, her scenes were creepy and very intense. She gave the movie depth as her character provided hostility, agony, and creepiness (sometimes all at the same time!). I was incredibly impressed with the performance by Betty Gabriel and would have liked to have seen this character explored further.
Con: Hypnosis (-5pts)
This movie hinges on the concept of hypnosis. If you do not believe in hypnosis as being a real thing, then you need to leave that opinion behind when you go in to watch this movie. Just pretend, for a little less than two hours, that you believe in hypnosis. Anyway, I thought the concept of hypnosis was used effectively in this movie, my problem was with the execution. I had two major issues with it.
The first was the fact that it was way too easy for the hypnosis to work once it had been started, especially since the person being hypnotized was a reluctant participant. My second problem with hypnosis in this movie was what they referred to as "the sunken place". This was a weird concept and the visual effect used to represent the sunken place was strange and took me out of the movie. I also thought that the sunken place should have been explained more clearly. The movie just kind of threw this concept at you and left it to the audience to try to interpret how it worked. Hypnosis was a key part of this movie, but I thought the filmmakers could have handled it better.
Pro: Awkward Racism (+8pts)
I thought this movie worked best when it was showing the awkward racism that Chris had to deal with over this weekend. The movie utilized a type of racism that you do not often get to see in movies. That racism is presented as friendly or presented as a compliment, but is still very clearly racist. I thought it was interesting to see how Chris had to deal with this. The racist comments were not presented in a hostile way, and they came from the family of the girl that he was dating, so Chris just had to accept it — even though it very clearly bothered him. I think this was fascinating to see on screen and I can not imagine what it must be like for anyone that must live in a situation such as that. What this awkward racism does is it makes all of the uneventful, heavy dialogue scenes more interesting to watch, because it added so much tension to each scene. This caused the audience (or at least me) to never be bored throughout all of the heavy dialogue in the rising action.
Con: "Racism" (-4pts)
Like I said, this movie worked best when it was addressing the awkward racism and the paranoia that it caused Chris to have to deal with. For most of the movie, this worked and it was very interesting to watch. However, in roughly the third act of the film, Chris made a discovery that caused the movie to kind of take a turn away from what made the previous acts so great. Unfortunately, neither the third act or the first two were bad, but they did not fit together. What I mean by that is that Chris went from dealing with the awkward racism for two full acts of rising action, then the climax presents a completely new issue. Almost as if the climax was taken from a different movie and slapped onto the end of this one. I think the climax of the movie would have worked a lot better if the "new issue" had been teased and suggested at from the beginning. Instead it seemed like the racism that Chris was dealing with the whole time ended up being irrelevant.
Pro: The Mystery (+5pts)
Coupled with the awkward racism, this movie was made so compelling by watching Chris as he tried to understand what on earth was going on with the people at this house. Why were the people working at the house acting so strange? What was the extent of the mother’s hypnosis capabilities? Were the two somehow connected? If they were connected, why was this all happening? I thought this movie did a very good job of taking the audience on this journey with Chris. It gave just enough clues to keep the movie interesting, but it did not give enough to give away the answers. While I did not think that the climax worked well with the rising action, the rising action was clearly effective at keeping the movie interesting.
Con: Trailer Syndrome (-1pts)
I do not think a movie should be judged by the effectiveness or flaws of its trailers, which is why I think this is such a minor issue. That being said, I think this movie suffered a bit from trailer syndrome. To me, trailer syndrome is when a trailer gives away too much. In this case, while the trailer does not (in any way) reveal the ending of this movie, I think a lot of the more memorable or intense moments were in the trailer. Chris going out at night and running into Walter (Marcus Hendersen) or the majority of the creepy scenes from Georgina. There were many more examples of this, but I unfortunately think that this movie would have been far more effective if the trailer did not include so many of the more creepy or startling moments of the movie. I do not believe that this significantly hurt the movie, but I think it was worth noting.
Grade: B+ (86pts)
Get Out was a very interesting movie to watch unfold. The awkward racism, and paranoia that went along with it, provided a fresh idea for a movie in the horror-thriller genre. I think the concept of hypnosis was a good addition but I think that the execution was weak. The movie was at its absolute best whenever the awkward racism is explored or whenever the people who worked at the house were on screen. This was especially true for the character of Georgina and the actress who played her (Betty Gabriel). I thought Get Out had great rising action, but I thought the climax of the movie fit poorly with the rest of the movie and did not capitalize on the magnificent rising action from the first two acts of the film. Overall, I would say that Get Out was a good movie, but not amazing, and while I think this movie is worth checking out, I would try not to let your expectations get too high.