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Get Out Film Review

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Published April 23rd 2017
Guess Who's Coming For Dinner
Blumhouse Productions/QC Entertainment/Universal Pictures

"Conceived", as J. Hoberman tells us in the New York Review "in the waning days of Barack Obama's presidency and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, four days after Donald Trump assumed power, the comedian Jordan Peele's semi-parodic horror film Get Out has a complexity worthy of its historical moment."

Some movies are eminently and deservedly forgettable. "Get Out" is not.

It stays stubbornly in our minds, demanding that we keep asking the question "what was that all about?" The plot is subtle and implied, meaning that for most movie-goers it may well be as we mentally re-wind in the light of the completed action that understanding comes. And it builds. Slowly and inexorably. It builds.

Even as our frustration festers as we try to make sense of it all, we are always engaged. The sense of menace grows as it becomes increasingly obvious that just about nothing is what it seems and that what is on face value. An affluent enlightened and tolerant community hides layer upon layer of deception and threat. There were moments where the movie goers in unison gasped in shock or laughed out loud.

It opens as an African American man walks alone at night down an affluent suburban street, to be stalked by a slow moving Porsche, bringing to the surface the menace epitomised by George Zimmerman's murder of Trayvon Martin. This sets the scene for all that follows.

We meet Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a Brooklyn-born African American photographer with more than a passing resemblance to Sydney Poitier, and his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams). They are about to meet Rose's parents, who do not know that Chris is African American.

On the surface, race does not seem to be an issue in this encounter, but almost every interaction has its awkwardness, heightened by two strange, almost zombie-like black servants, and a strange undercurrent when Rose's parents host a barbeque.

One woman, uninvited, feels Chris's biceps, almost like assessing a slave, and a sight-impaired man expresses envy for Chris's photographic eye. Watch for the slavery subtext during the BBQ auction.

Underlying the dialogue there seems to be a strange fusion of envy, desire, fear and anger. Rose's parents' careers, as neurosurgeon and hypnotherapist, take on a sinister aspect. The film's title -- "Get Out" could be a warning or sheer disbelief.

This movie is much more than a "comedy-horror" flick. It has layer upon layer of meaning and menace.

Some reviews have suggested that there is a reference in the movie to Obama as a white person in a black body.

Hoberman says "'Get Out' articulates the fear that the Obama presidency was smoke and mirrors, a sham and an illusion. And it would seem that this film has materialised at the very moment that curtain rose and the real America was revealed."

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Why? It plays with your mind
Where: Cinemas across Australia
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