Jordan Peele, known for his stints on MadTV and Key & Peele, the filmmaker shocked the world when he unleashed his directorial debut, Get Out. The horror film starring Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and The Black Messiah, Black Panther), Catherine Keener (Enough Said, Captain Phillips), Bradley Whitford (The Cabin in the Woods, Saving Mr. Banks) is about Chris Washington’s stay with his girlfriend’s parents for the weekend. What should be a fun weekend celebrating life and love turns into a disturbing nightmare that Chris will never forget.
Get Out ended up being a critical darling, receiving a 98% rotten tomatoes score out of 397 critic reviews. The Jordan Peele vehicle was also a commercial success by making nearly $260 million worldwide. The film remained the talk of the world throughout the year thanks to its tackle of racism and Get Out would end up being nominated for four Academy Awards including best picture and best director. Jordan Peele took home an Oscar for best screenplay. With Get Out receiving so much hype and attention back in 2017, does the horror film truly deserves the accolades that it received? Well…kind of. Let’s dig deeper into this discussion.
First things first, Get Out is a well-made movie and a kick in the arm that the genre needed. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is by no means perfect (which I’ll elaborate on later); however, there’s no denying the level of craft that was put into the film. Get Out doesn’t rely on blood and a body cut to spook its audience; By focusing on the psychological aspects of the film, it allows audiences to connect with the characters and overall story. Chris going into a sunken place remains one of the most powerful and visually stunning scenes in the horror film. Another great moment is LaKeith Stanfield‘s Andrew King momentarily breaking out of whatever spell that he was under and shouts”Get Out!” multiple times.
Of course, great scenes like this wouldn’t exist if wasn’t for the talented cast. Peele is able to blend horror and comedy so well because of the strength of balancing such a delicate act. Most of the horror scenes make such an impact because he plays those scenes quite seriously and doesn’t make the mistake of adding humor to soften the moment. Going back to the characters, the standout is the maid Georgina. Betty Gabriel’s performance as the housekeeper is effectively creepy and her confrontation with Washington over his cell phone is equal parts nerve-wracking and intense. In that moment, the housekeeper’s body language and unhinged performance says so much without the need for exposition.
At the forefront, Daniel Kaluuya is a likable presence as Chris Washington. While his character is a simple and normal guy, it’s the situation around him that makes Kaluuya’s performance so strong. Effectively, the Armitage family is filled with an interesting cast of characters. While they’ve got nothing on the twisted family of Leatherface, each character brings something to the table that balances a loving family, who just happens to be racist and manipulative psychos. The first two acts really build up well to the chaotic climax. With all the praise that I give the 2017 film, what prevents me from saying that it truly deserves its Academy Award recognition?
That happens to be the third act. Get Out does an excellent job of racking up the tension; however, the final act turns into a mess. First, logic kind of goes out of the window, with Chris not actually believing that his girlfriend Rose wasn’t apart of the whole business despite the mountains of photos of her past relationships with black men. Daniel Kaluuya’s character has never been portrayed as dumb, so this moment highly lessens the impact of the “twist” because it was obvious that Rose was in on the plan.
Another issue is the clunky way that we find out that Georgina and Marcus Henderson’s Walter was actually the grandparents of the Armitage family. It slowed down the momentum of the movie a bit because Peele didn’t trust that his audience would understand that Georgina and Walter were victims as well. Based on Andrew’s warning earlier in the film and the overall strangeness of Georgina and Walter gave away that those two were clearly under the spell of the Armitage family. Also, it killed the “twist” of Georgina trying to murder Chris. Again, Chris isn’t portrayed as an idiot in the first two acts, thus it’s baffling that he doesn’t put two and two together after everything he’s seen.
Get Out’s third act is by no means terrible, but the climax should’ve gone through one more draft before being finalized. When facing Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Lady Bird at the 2018 Academy Awards, I do feel that Get Out is the weaker of those two scripts. Still, Get Out does deserve it’s Oscar nomination because the film does transcend horror and the racy subject is something worth talking about.