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Get Out

Year: 2017
Production Co: Blumhouse
Studio: Universal
Director: Jordan Peele
Producer: Jason Blum
Writer: Jordan Peele/Sean McKittrick/Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Stephen Root, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Walker, Betty Gabriel

I don't want to be so cynical as to suggest that the reason this film broke out so big is because of all the awards voters and marketers (which directors and stars are just as much as the PR firms when it comes to pushing Hollywood's narrative) wanted to be on the right side of history in all the debates about race and representation on screen. No matter how good it is (and it is), it seems a strange kind of movie to have gone so far in the awards and festival scenes.

Having said that, Jorden Peele has such a commanding grasp over how to build tension using sight and sound it deserved all the technical plaudits (including the writing) it received as well as the financial success with audiences.

So maybe I am cynical, because it's a well-made movie. All that's left to wonder is how a movie like Get Out and The Shape of Water (both from fantastical genres usually ignored by prestigious awards) climbed to the top of the Oscars.

Has there been some continuing push from The Academy to stay relevant by rewarding more commercial and genre fare – especially as ratings continue to plummet? Was there just not much out last year that was worth awarding? Is the awards circuit just feeling the absence of one-man Oscar machine Harvey Weinstein and his slate filling out all the categories?

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) are on their way to visit Rose's wealthy parents. Being the modern age, the fact they're from different races isn't an issue for anyone but as the premise of the film has it, it doesn't stop any white parent, no matter how liberal, drawing in a quiet breath of shock when their WASP-y little girl shows up with a black boyfriend.

Rose's parents Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener) couldn't be nicer, more accommodating or take greater pains to assure Chris of how accepting they are. At one point Dean is almost apologetic about the fact that they have black servants on their country estate, saying he knows how backwards it looks.

But over the course of the weekend, Chris can't help feeling something's wrong. For one thing, the servants (as well as every other black guest who shows up for the garden party) are pleasant enough, but they're also Stepford-like zombies who act like they're been lobotomised.

He tries not to be paranoid, but the script turns on the tiniest detail and twists his worry about what's really going on and Peele – as both the director and the writer – expertly keeps the tension simmering and threatening to bubble over all the way through.

The reveal to the mystery, when it comes, is ridiculous in a fun way (and fun in a ridiculous way) that almost doesn't suit the thriller genre mastery of the rest of the movie. When the tension is released as Chris learns the secret it also becomes a bit more of a chase thriller, but the movie blends psychological tension with more overt horror movie visuals extremely well.

Watch for the scene where Chris is standing out in the yard late at night to sneak a cigarette when he sees the black gardener running full pelt towards him the dark. Peele has the actor (Marcus Henderson) sprinting straight at the camera, cutting back and forth to Chris looking more worried and backing slowly away, and you'll want to stand up and rush out of Walter's way as well.

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