Movie Review: “Get Out”
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) have been dating for 5 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, awkwardness and racism but Rose does her best to reassure him and convince him into going. Once at the house, Chris notices small racist tendencies from the family and as the weekend goes on, strange things start to unfold. The African-American workers at the house act extremely strange, 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 African-American workers, how racist the family really is, how much danger he is in, and how he can Get Out.
The Pros & Cons
The Mystery (+5pts)
Trailer Syndrome (-1pts)
Pro: Acting (+8pts)
This movie is filled with good actors giving good performances. The great performances came from the actors who played the African-American 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 when you see the movie). This movie depends on these actors playing the characters in a convincing way. 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 when you see 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 see this character explored further.
Con: Hypnosis (-5pts)
This movie hinges on the concept of hypnosis. So 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 to easy for the hypnosis to work once it had been started, especially since the person being hypnotized was a reluctant participant. I think this issue should have been explored. 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 weird. It was jarring, took me out of the movie and made me to ask myself "what the **** am I watching?". I also thought that the sunken place should have been explained more clearly. The movie just kind of throws this concept at you and leaves it to the audience to try to interpret the how it works. Hypnosis was a key part of this movie and I thought it was executed poorly, so I hope other people are able to look past this more than I could.
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 utilizes a type of racism that you do not often get to see in movies. Racism that is presented as friendly or presented as a compliment but is still very clearly racism. I thought it was interesting to see how Chris had to deal with this. The racist comments were not presented in a hostile way, but they came from the family of the girl that he was dating so he just had to accept it even though it very clearly bothered and affected 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 than the eventful, heavy action scenes. This causes the audience (or at least me) to never be bored throughout the rising action.
Con: "Racism" (-4pts)
Like I said, this movie works best when it is addressing the awkward racism and the paranoia that it causes Chris to have to deal with. For most of the movie, this works and it is very interesting to watch. However, in roughly the third act of the film, Chris makes a discovery that causes the movie to kind of take a turn away from what made the previous acts so great. Here is what is so unfortunate about this: neither the third act or the first two were bad, but they did not fit together. Now I do not mean that the third act doesn't make any sense when compared to the first two. What I mean by that is that Chris goes 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 and get to the bottom of what on earth was going on with the people at this house. Why were the African-American workers acting so strange? What is the extend of the mothers hypnosis? Are the two somehow connected? If they were connected, why is this all happening? I thought this movie did a very good job of taking the audience on this journey with Chris. It gives just enough clues to keep the movie interesting, but it does not give enough to give away the answers. While I did not think that the climax worked well with the build up, I do have to acknowledge how effective the build up was at keeping the movie interesting.
Con: Trailer Syndrome (-1pts)
I do not think a movie should be judged by the effectiveness or flaws of the trailers, which is why I gave this Con so few points. That being said, I do think this movie suffers 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 be far more effective if the trailer did not have so many of the creepy or startling moments. Another solution would be if the movie put in even more of these moments. I do not believe that this significantly hurts the movie, but I do think it is 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 style of 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 is at it's absolute best whenever the awkward racism is explored or whenever the African-American workers are on screen and get dialogue. This is especially true for the character of Georgina and the actress who played her (Betty Gabriel). I thought Get Out had a great build up but I thought the climax of the movie did not fit with the rest of the movie and it did not capitalize on the magnificent rising action from the first two acts of the film.
Overall, I would say that Get Out is a good movie but it is not amazing. So I recommend checking this movie out one way or another. Whether you rush out to the theater or wait for it to come out on home video, I think this is a movie worth seeing but do not let your expectations get too high.