Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Get Out: Racial Politics, Blumhouse-Style
Armitage’s parents are truly terrifying. They are rich white liberals who would
have voted for Obama a third time if they had the chance. That alone sounds
pretty creepy, but they go out of their way to be hospitable when Rose brings
her African American boyfriend home for a visit. However, they have nefarious
ulterior motives for their warm welcome in Jordan Peele’s Blumhouse-produced Get Out (trailer here), which opens today
promises Chris Washington her parents will not freak out when they meet him and
initially they live up to her assurances. Frankly, they might be trying to act
a little too cool. Her jerkweed brother Jeremy is a different story, but
everyone seems duly embarrassed by him. Washington is slightly put off by the
constant offers from Rose’s hypnotherapist mom Missy to stop his smoking habit through
post-hypnotic suggestion, but it is the eerily quiet live-in housekeeper and
handyman (both African American) who first stir his suspicions.
really starts to get freaked when a missing acquaintance of his TSA buddy Rod
Williams turns up at the Armitages’ garden party on the arm of a late
middle-aged white woman, acting thoroughly lobotomized. He will snap out of it
long enough to provide the titular warning, but by this point the trap is set.
Williams and his TSA-honed crime-fighting instincts possibly represent
Washington’s best hope, so he should probably start saying his prayers.
there is really nothing to satirize in the Trump White House these days, Peele
profitably turns his attention towards limousine (or at least McMansion) liberals.
As part of the Key & Peele duo, he has relatively little comedy experience,
but he makes the transition quite smoothly with Get Out. Of course, many of the laughs come from a dark “you’re in
trouble now, dude” kind of place, just like most successful horror comedies.
Granted, the actual evil plot afoot is beyond ludicrous, but Peele still gets
us to buy in, thanks to the potent feeling of paranoia he so deftly keeps
Kaluuya is serviceable enough as Washington, the not completely clueless but
still insufficiently intuitive potential victim. Allison Williams perfectly
plays with and off him as Rose Armitage, adding a meta element as the daughter
of MSNBC news reader Brian Williams and a cast-member of HBO’s Girls. Similarly, West Wing’s Bradley Whitford (so wonderfully manic in the Broadway
revival of Boeing-Boeing) is uncomfortably
convincing as the predatory liberal, Dean Armitage. Lil Rel Howery is a bit shticky
as Williams, but he still scores a good deal of laughs, often at his own
expense. However, it is Betty Gabriel (in her third Blumhouse production) who
really brings the weirdness as the disturbingly spaced-out domestic, Georgina.
One might argue Get Out is not nearly as didactic as it has been cracked up to be.
Maybe it is an awkward viewing experience if you identify with the Armitages of
the world, but if you are coming from a different perspective, it is easy to
just laugh at their mayhem. Recommended for its paranoid nuttiness, Get Out opens today (2/24) in New York
at multiple locations, including the AMC Empire.
Labels: Blumhouse, Horror Movies