MOVIE REVIEW: Get Out offers fresh approach to film satire
RACISM and horror: what a rich, fresh and deliciously provocative screen partnership.
Especially in the hands of a filmmaker with enough assurance, or should that be audacity, to play his controversial material for laughs.
In an attention-grabbing directorial debut, American comedian Jordan Peele deep-fries what would appear to be seriously unpalatable subject matter, serving it with a generous portion of Southern-style collard greens.
The resulting satire goes down a treat. But be warned, this meal is designed to repeat on you.
Get Out is the story of Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), an urban, African-American photographer who travels to Alabama for the weekend to meet his white girlfriend's parents.
"Do they know I am black?" he asks, while packing.
A gently mocking Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) assures Chris that her parents, psychologist Missy (Catherine Keener) and surgeon Dean (Bradley Whitford), are not racist.
Although she jokes that the educated, middle-class professionals will be quick to assure him that they would vote for Obama for a third term if they could.
Washington knows this kind of liberal racism well. And Rose will be at his side to help him critique the older generation's shortcomings.
Despite his wisecracking best mate's (prescient) warnings, he relaxes - until a nerve-jangling accident on the interstate highway involving a deer with a death wish and the sort of redneck policeman everybody knows he'd be well-advised not to mess with.
Still slightly unnerved, Washington initially puts his hosts' off-key behaviour down to social awkwardness.
But there is something very strange about the hired help - the Armitages' housekeeper, Georgina (Betty Gabriel) is almost slavishly attentive, and their gardener (Marcus Henderson) appears to be harbouring a serious grudge against the newcomer he has only just met.
Missy definitely oversteps the mark with an unsolicited hypnotic treatment ostensibly aimed at curing Washington of his nicotine addiction.
The atmosphere at the Armitages' annual garden party is even more discordant.
Given the critical hype surrounding this film, spoilers will be hard to avoid. But the less moviegoers know about the plot beforehand, the better, so we won't elaborate further here.
Smart, entertaining, superbly-acted and shockingly funny, Get Out is a rare film that ticks all the boxes and works on a number of different levels.
That's all you really need to know.
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener.
Director: Jordan Peele
Verdict: 4 stars