Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele, 1h 44min
This is the first ever Who’s Your Favorite Beatle popcorn-back guarantee: If you don’t like Get Out, I’ll give you a full refund on popcorn or Junior Mints or whatever your guilty movie pleasure may be!
Get Out is that good. There is nothing better than going to a movie with absolutely no expectations and raving about it afterwards. Showing a flair for dramatic as well as comic writing, Jordan Peele of the comedy duo of Key and Peele also dazzles in his directorial debut.
The opening scene follows a black man searching at night for an address in a tree-lined, upscale neighborhood who is forced into a car, foreshadowing the craziness that follows. The next scene shifts to a benign, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner set up. Rose (the lovely and talented Allison Williams) is taking Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), her black boyfriend, to meet her parents at their bespoke country home.
On the drive Chris talks to his friend Rod (the hilarious LilRel Howrey), who is skeptical about the trip, to say the least. Rod channels what the audience wants to yell throughout the movie, “Get out!”
The first hint of trouble is when Rose hits a deer on a deserted country road. Chris, already a little on edge about meeting her parents, is unnerved but manages to shrug it off, his first mistake.
You know things will go wildly wrong, but there is nothing obvious about how that will happen. Peele’s clever script keeps you guessing and delighted. Revealing any more would be a complete disservice!
There is Hitchcock shock, even some Tarantino absurdity, but Get Out has its own distinctive voice. It effortlessly flips back and forth from being very funny to very intense, with lots of surprises along the way. Williams, Kaluuya and Howrey all excel with strong support from Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener as Rose’s parents and Caleb Landry Jones as her drunk, scary brother.
Don’t miss this one!
Despite strong performances by David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in the lead roles, this was a disappointment. It is based on the true story of the Bechuanaland tribal king, Seretse Khama. While studying in the UK, he marries a white Englishwoman, Ruth Williams. Unfortunately, A United Kingdom doesn’t develop into much more than what was previewed in the trailer.
Set in 1947, Williams’s family is horrified by her decision to marry a black man. Returning to Africa, Seretse fares no better. Despite initially getting the tribe on his side, he is opposed by his powerful uncle, who collaborates with the British Foreign Office to see that Seretse is banished, leaving Ruth behind.
The villain of the piece is a cartoonishly evil foreign officer, Sir Alistair Canning (Jack Davenport). He condescends to Ruth and Seretse and delights in thwarting their every effort to regain the throne and resume their life together.
But the sun is setting on the British Empire, and this early example of black nationalism won’t be denied. Seretse returns as king and soon declares a democracy. The tribe (now the nation of Botswana) retains the rights to its diamond reserves, insuring economic stability. The people of Bechuanaland eventually accept, even love Ruth, his queen.
Maybe there is so little tension because there is no credible adversary. The old-boy conceits of the foppish Brits seem ridiculous even for the period. A good drama needs uncertainty, and this one doesn’t have enough of it.