Get Out - Guess Who's Coming To Rock This Dinner?
Dir: Jordan Peele
Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones, Lil Rel Howery
One day, and probably one day quite soon, people will write books about Jason Blum. Hell, the man may even start winning some kind of awards. And, in a curious way, he deserves both.
It could easily be argued that not only has the powerhouse producer behind Blumhouse Productions almost singlehandedly kept the horror genre alive, he has reinvigorated it. And brought talent to it that just a few short years ago would’ve considered appearing in such a piece the sign of a career in decline. Now we’re used to seeing performers of such quality as Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga and Ethan Hawke forsaking their big budget or art house leanings to dabble in the dark side.
On top of that, Blum has created a financial paradigm that you can just bet is the envy of everyone in Hollywood, that isn’t named Marvel or Disney. Working from budgets that rarely rise above the $10 million mark (often less) his films – and we’re talking the Sinisters, the Insidiouses, the Conjourings and all their various paranormal permutations – regularly cruise past the $100 mill mark.
Plus, unlike most of his contemporaries, Blum likes to get political. Love it or loathe it, The Purge series is one of modern American cinema’s few attempts at political satire. And we think for the most part they do it rather well.
And lest we think this is just about the money and the talent in front of the camera, the man regularly gives a step up to those behind. James Wan went from this school to the major leagues of the Fast and the Furious and Aquaman (and then noticeably went back again in between), Scott Derrickson went from Sinister to Strange (Marvel’s Doctor, that is), and M. Night Shyamalan went from the embarrassing obscurity of his own fallen star to something of a rejuvenated force with the likes of The Visit and Split.
And now this. Former one half of a comedic double act Jordan Peele has just delivered the first $100 million grossing debut feature by an African American filmmaker ever. And it’s a film not simply steeped in the quiet/BANG formula of much of Blumhouse’s efforts, but a film rich in black comedy and a cinematically literate appreciation of the smarter and darker corners of the genre. (And in between Blum uses his winnings to make sure movies like Whiplash get made. Which begat La La Land and so on…one day they will write books.)
Which brings us to Get Out – which is Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? via The Stepford Wives, and even Night Of The Living Dead, all made new with a take on the liberal values of contemporary racism. Girls’ Allison Williams is the white girl who takes the black boyfriend (a Sam Jackson defying Daniel Kaluuya) home to meet the ultimate whitebread suburbanite folks, brilliantly capture by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener. And then things get weird. Funny weird at first as dad keeps calling her BF “my man” and talking about Obama; then creepy weird as the staff, the only other black people around, display their almost robotic obedience.
Needless to say, things escalate, and it’s a testament to first time director Peele that he displays a dab hand for escalating such tension, finding it not in the obvious, but in the opening of a door, the slow-mo as people pass, the unreadable exchange between eyes.
Get Out is a film that as it builds, slow burns witty satire into dark social horror. It threatens to overload itself with Lil Rel Howery’s supporting turn, which almost passes up black comedy for generic comedy, and a third act twist goes a little too Man With Two Brains for anyone’s liking. But Peele confidently gets his pleasingly ambitious film back on track with its suitably bloody climax. An ending the film both deserves, and earns.
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