Get Out: Jordan Peele’s Unnerving, Hypnotic and Layered Debut

Jordan Peele carefully blends the theme of racism in his entertaining debut film ‘Get Out’ which is a breath of fresh air in the horror genre. Even though there are no ghosts, Get Out is scary because of the fact that the unsettling absurdity is, in fact, grounded in reality, as it addresses the horrible things that seemingly normal people are capable of committing which can only be explained as racial paranoia.

Get Out: Jordan Peele’s Unnerving, Hypnotic and Layered Debut Get Out: Jordan Peele’s Unnerving, Hypnotic and Layered Debut Source : Universal Pictures

Jordan Peele's Get Out opened to outstanding critical reception. Produced on a modest budget of $4.5 million, Get Out earned an astonishing $255.5 million at the box-office. The success is not due to the presence of high-profile actors as Catherine Keener is the most well-known cast in the film. The full credit goes to the proficient writing and direction of Jordan Peele who chose horror genre to construct the experience of a black man who finds himself at the mercy of white without failing to exploit the inherent room for satire. It is funny and creepy but at the same time it makes you think about the dynamics at play here. We follow the protagonist Chris and discover things with him as he does which helps in immediate identification with the range of emotions he is going through.

Get Out is full of surprises and jump scares which Jordan Peele has used to great effect. Get Out is a good movie for its entertainment factor. What makes Get Out great is the commentary on racial issues and how cleverly Jordan Peele has wrapped his point within the horror genre. Jordan Peele was inspired by Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby and Bryan Forbes' The Stepford Wives. He conceived Get Out as an entertaining movie experience, at the core of which he explored racism instead of sexism.

Daniel Kaluuya gave an intense performance as Chris Washington, an unsuspecting photographer, Chris serves as an antithesis to the typical predatory black man. Allison Williams plays Rose Armitage, his girlfriend. Up until the final act where she breaks free from the ‘white savior' trope, she is jovial and charming but not to be taken for granted. In a scene where a white cop pulls over the couple on a highway and asks for their license, Allison shows hers but refuses to show Chris' because he wasn't driving. Thus, we are led to believe that she is the best girlfriend Chris could ask for.

Catherine Keener, as always, effortlessly seeps into her role. She plays Missy Armitage, a good-natured hypnotherapist. Like Williams, Keener is perfectly cast keeping the tone of the film in mind. She isn't what we have come to expect of her, and what we want her to be. Only Bradley Whitford and Caleb Landry Jones, as Dean and Jeremy Armitage, the father and son respectively, give away a strange vibe from their first introduction. Also, Logan (Lakeith Stanfield), Marcus Henderson (Walter), and Betty Gabriel (Georgina) are spooky from moment they were introduced.

All the actors work well together. It is partly due to the full-fledged characters written on paper-Jordan Peele gives one scene to pretty much every character in Get Out to establish who they are; and also, because the cast lived together in a spooky hotel and Allison Williams' rented house in Alabama where the shooting took place.

The cinematography by Toby Oliver is flawless. His compositions are symmetric and highlights the characters in close-ups. The lighting is satiny and natural. Visually, Get Out is understated but distinct nonetheless, especially the ‘sinking' in space effects. Every frame is intriguing and invites perlustration. The production design by Rusty Smith is most circumstantiated which gives a footing to the supernatural narrative. The orchestral music by Michael Abels is chilling and atmospheric where he has used jazz, blues and bluegrass genre. It complements the rhythmic editing by Gregory Plotkin. Surprisingly, the polished and pristine craft gives no indication that Get Out was the first major assignment for all three of them.

No one would say after watching Get Out that it is Jordan Peele's first movie as a director if they weren't told so. It is evident in the supreme and ingenious manipulation of tones and subversion of the horror genre and racial stereotypes that Jordan Peele had complete clarity and understanding about his vision. He sails smoothly through all the drama, comedy, mystery, and thrill. He handles all the conflicting tones with skillful precision to maintains the unsettling atmosphere throughout the course of the film. We can feel the anticipation building towards the climax even as the film progresses rapidly. The film will eventually end (on an ambiguous note), but it may not Get Out.

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