Ladies and gentlemen, the dream for Jordan Peele is on! More than a year after it’s release, his Get Out can be the successor to the legacy of Hanibal Lector eating a liver with some fava beans and a nice cianti. Not many movies released at the start of the previous year can hope of getting any form of recognition, come Oscar season. Moreover, Horror movies have been traditionally overlooked for the biggest prize in English showbiz, but Jordan has shaken things up a little amongst the traditionalists within the Academy. Get out has been nominated for 4 Oscars and like it’s predecessors in the Horror genre, ‘Black Swan’ and ‘The Sixth Sense’, the movie seems to be a favourite among the voting members as well as the audience and critics alike. Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 99% fresh, that’s fresher than Key’s hat! Get it? No? Ok watch this sketch..
Jordan Peele is an actor first and then a director. His sketches on Mad TV and Comedy Central have always pushed the boundaries of race and was constantly waggish while scratching the sensitive white-black conflict of the past century, albeit playfully. He uses the one dimensional archetype of horror movies being made in Hollywood, to present something which takes the audience by surprise. We do not know what to expect when the movie says ‘directed by Jordan Peele’. Humour? Obviously. Satire? Of course. But a statement on racial incongruity! No one saw that coming. And that is where the beauty of Get Out lies.
Horror is still a peripheral genre in Hollywood and Jordon uses that to his advantage. His influences are Alfred Hitchcock, Kubrick and Carpenter and it shows in his maiden venture. The opening scene in the movie, involving a character ‘Andre’ who is kidnapped and returns a changed man towards the second half has a Kubrick homage. And that memorable run towards the camera scene by the character Walter is classic Hitchcock. It stays in your mind through the visceral discomfort it creates for the audience. You just don’t want anyone running at you in the dark. Never. Jordan shows his gift of directing build up scenes through the hypnotizing session between the protagonist and his girlfriend’s mother. Chris (the brilliant Daniel Kaluuya) is perplexed at the sudden sinister ways of the mother even as the camera pans close to the faces of the characters. As the mother prods Chris about his past, tears roll out effortlessly from Kaluuya’s eyes. That is another scene which remains with the audience long after the movie is over. Kaluuya’s adroitness in emoting extreme feelings had landed him the part, as Jordan Peele reveals in one of his interviews.
Daniel Kaluuya has had a stupendous 2017. With Black Panther releasing this month, his credentials as a serious talent has got a new boost and he should sit with pride alongside Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman on Oscar night, whatever be the eventual outcome. Kaluuya’s measured acting is something to marvel at. He can do without many words as his weapon of choice are his eyes. In the episode ’15 Million Merits’ from Black Mirror Season 1, the director continuously veered close to Kaluuya’s face and the story unfolded through his facial expressions. In Get Out, he is a kind and smart black man, ready to impress his girlfriend’s family and friends, but unknowingly falls prey to something ominous. He has to summon his entire internal strength to fight his way out of the quagmire. Allison Williams plays the girlfriend with as much comfort as she plays the conniving daughter. The sudden change in her motives come as a jolt to the audience. Kudos to Jordan for achieving the shock value in the movie without anything gruesome happening on screen. It shows that a good horror movie does not need blood and killer antagonists to send chills down the viewer’s spines.
Get out is brilliant because of numerous factors, most important of them being the overall eerie feel of the side characters. From the patriarch of the family to the housekeeper Georgina, everyone seems to hide secrets behind their cold stares. As Chris gets increasingly uncomfortable in that house, Jordan Peele starts playing his trump cards one after another. But how can I forget good old Rod (Lil Rey Howery), whose antics with the phone and his detective work brings much needed occasional lightness as well as work as the end gambit.
Get Out is the best bet for a horror movie to get the coveted award in recent years, come Oscar night. What a debut by Jordan Peele, who has retired from acting to focus on his directorial ventures. Looking at this marvellous movie, I can only wish him good luck. Spook us out!
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