By J. Davis (York, PA, USA)

 

I anticipated this movie like a hot date. It’s online profile was everything I wanted in a film; it left nothing to be desired. I counted the days up to the time I would spend with it. Put simply, I was ready to be enthralled.

What started out happily enough, ended with a bizarre mix of profound boredom and an even deeper frustration. How did something that looked this good, have so little substance? How did the raconteurs of opinion get blinded by such a flawed movie?

In order to answer those questions, I had to watch the movie twice.

There are a couple of immutable positives which mitigate an otherwise desperate foray into storytelling. First, this movie tackles American race issues in a fresh format: the horror/thriller. At a glance, one couldn’t think of a more appropriate genre from which to tell the story of an interracial relationship. -The term itself showing there’s a distinct power imbalance, that societal perception is a defining, unjust, and pervasive component to what should be an intimate journey first and foremost.- Second, and I can’t heap enough praise on him, Daniel Kaluuya is amazing. From the moment he gets on screen, he makes you care about his character. When the dialogue is weak, he still delivers. When the situations are as internally logical as two plus two equaling plum pudding, he brings the viewer in. He’s so good, he almost saves the movie.

After the second viewing, I had my answers.

Even given the strong positives of combining horror with social commentary, and the lead’s gift for acting, this movie can’t escape the fact that the main character is simply too smart to be in a situation this dumb. Get Out doesn’t present him as having no choice, it presupposes his freewill and embraces his independence from the get go. Rather than denoting how a strong, intelligent person can be drawn into the fabric of societal expectations, it does the opposite. By the end, I knew for certain if the narrative had been true to his character, it would’ve been ten minutes long at most.

There’s also the issue of what I call ‘mood hopping.’ The term suits better than ‘genre hopping,’ what have you, because writer/director Jordan Peele practically introduces each change in approach with, “Now here’s a funny part,” or, “Now here’s a dramatic exposition.” It’s not innovative, it’s irritating. Like being told a raggedy patchwork quilt is a seamless piece of silk. It also kills the narrative. Then revives it. Then kills it again.

Since this is doing well at the box office, I’m hoping Jordan will develop a steadier creative hand for his next project. Even though it was a chore to watch, he composed some decent shots. His affection for Mr. Kaluuya stands out as well, you can tell he wants us to understand his charisma, and we do. -Daniel’s undoubtedly the shine in an otherwise dull endeavor- But ultimately, the points Jordan gets for trying are brought back to almost zero by a convoluted, frustrating film.

Rating: 2/5

 

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