R 103 mins. Jordan Peele USA 2017
Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a masterful exercise in social commentary and a damn good horror film steeped in the horror tradition. Peele’s references aren’t mere knowing nods and winks, moreover; he evokes horror tropes in order to reflect on their earlier meanings and to create new meanings. Despite Peele’s brilliance, though, the film would not have worked as well as it did were it not for a stunning performance by Daniel Kaluuya as the film’s lead, Chris Washington. Kaluuya carried the film with his grace, compassion, humor and, in the end, his anger and outrage. As a horror fan, I was enthralled with a film that unequivocally embraced the horror tradition. As a moviegoer, I was drawn in and moved by Kaluuya’s Chris.
Kaluuya himself would not have been as effective without a stellar (and often chilling) supporting cast—especially Allison Williams as Chris’s girlfriend, Rose Armitage, Bradley Whitford as her father, Dean, Betty Gabriel as the Armitages’ housekeeper, Georgina, and LilRel Howery as Ron, TSA agent extraordinaire. Is it time, finally, for a horror film to win in some big categories at the Academy Awards (film, director, actor, supporting actor and actress) for the first time since Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs (which was, let’s remember, a whopping 26 years ago, now?)