Last night I went to the cinema (first time in ages) and saw Get Out. I like to flag up films and books I encounter that are either disappointing or brilliant. My verdict:
Go and see Get Out while it's still on at the cinema!I knew nothing about it when I went, and it was all the better for it. I'm one of those people who hates knowing too much - often I can't even watch trailers because they give away so much of the plot (and as a creator, I'm adept at filling in the spaces - most trailers destroy my desire to see a film, even before they add that stupid reverse-bass-boom cliched sound effect that gets more airtime than the Wilhelm scream or BWAAAAA). Get Out kept me guessing for a good while, there were so many possibilities.
Some of my spoiler-free thoughts.
- Get Out has great acting throughout, especially Daniel Kaluuya (Chris) and Betty Gabriel (Georgina), who were mesmerising at times; but all the actors were utterly convincing in their roles.
- Get Out was never boring. There was always something to see or think about. It's a masterclass in cutting out the flab and keeping up momentum without losing coherence. So taut that even a momentary shot of choosing things in a bakery ties in to the plot and characterisation. Not a moment wasted.
- I couldn't find anything to criticise. That's rare for me when I see a film.
- There was some beauty in the film too. Balance is important.
- Excellent use of sound.
- Humour well-done, at just the right times, to relieve-but-enhance tension.
Do not read on if you haven't seen it - SPOILERS!!!!And further thoughts as I walked home at night (passing a parked white car with its lights on at one point, which was fun). I haven't read anything about the film yet, so this is all speculation, but I know I'm right. :-) With Get Out I really had no idea what direction it would go in. The name gave nothing away. Alien invasion? Serial killer? Torture porn? Psychological breakdown? Would it be a variant of Them (2006) or The Strangers (2008)? Was there something in the woods? Was it playing off The Visit (2015) - a thought that seemed especially likely in the early jump scare of an old woman wandering a house at night. But Chris's friend's obsession with sex slaves was the closest to the truth, since for me the touchstone is obviously The Stepford Wives (1975), based on Ira Levin's 1972 book, but replacing sex politics with skin colour politics.
I loved the depth of connection in images. Car-hit dying deer = his mother by the road = white father's hatred of deer because they "over-breed" and are "taking over" = deer head on the wall watching him undergo the change = his antagonist's mother by the road hit by his car. So much fun connecting the dots. And I said the sound was good, but it also helped reinforce all this: I especially liked the first night, where the dying deer sound morphed into a mosquito - both blood connections - reinforcing the deer/mother analogies, and preceding Chris's major encounter with his girlfriend's mother.
Talking of connections and significance, another one impressed me. At the start there was a momentary shot of Rose choosing things in a bakery. Even this wasn't just pointless segue - it turns out to be ominous in retrospect. I think there were only two scenes where Rose was seen totally alone. The bakery, and using her laptop at the end. In both of them she is perusing brown items like a catalogue, humans reduced to a small-size commodities that makes them seem identical, items she can consume later after making her choice. Chilling characterisation.
I said some of the acting was mesmerising at times (I couldn't resist that pun in relation to the teaspoon control). As a writer I liked the hypnotism element, words gaining more power than muscle and martial arts. It also led on to scenes that reminded me of the final chapters of Turner, which weren't in my first draft but were added after discussion with my editors.
What else? The ending. They didn't do the obvious Night of The Living Dead ending, even after setting it up with the racist cop earlier, and the audience knowing it would tie in with real-world events. As earlier, they made you expect one thing, but then surprised you. They'd made their point simply by creating that expectation. Restraint and control were keywords for the whole film, in multiple ways.