I am over the moon to see Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out. I think I’m more excited for this film than any other coming out this year. Sure, I’m pumped to see stuff like Justice League and films of the like, but… my excitement for this particular film signals an evolution in my tastes and the way I view cinema at large. Don’t get me wrong, I love my big dumb populist movies filled to the brim with explosions and all sorts of spectacle, but this is different.
Sure, Get Out is nestled safely within the confines of the horror/thriller genre to which I am completely enamored with. So on paper this represents a slam dunk in perpetuity to my tastes as a movie fanatic. I was destined to like this movie on some level. Also, this was before any sort of promotional material had begun to circulate itself into the public conscious.
So, while the horror and thriller elements were my initial pull towards this flick, what I discovered about the underlying thematic sizzle to this dread filled steak really just knocked my desire to be enveloped by this particular story right out into the solar system. I love that Jordan Peele (one half of sketch comedy goldmine Key and Peele) didn’t rest on his laurels and play it safe. Listening to an interview he did with King of the Nerds Chris Hardwick, he really hammered home a clear vision of wanting to separate himself from previous successes and strike out on his own as a creator. His desire to tap into the current racist and bigotry filled choke hold that seems to have grasped this country through the prism of a horror film really showed how much elasticity is left in what many could consider a stale genre.
Not even having seen the film yet, I can tell that the ability to lace an important and topical message into something that can entertain and have it be an equal element to the more fanatical moments of his directorial debut is really going to stand apart from more traditional horror fare. His ability to subvert societal issues into a razor-sharp satire looks like it’s going to pay dividends to ensuring a long and prosperous career as a filmmaker.
At the end of the day that’s just as important to concocting a successful and well accepted movie. Inflated budgets and pre-existing IP’s are not always the key to financial and artistic success. Get Out represents a pivotal turning point in any art forms ability to convey a meaningful message that could impact real world change for the better. The world as we find it these days is a dire and hate filled place. So many of the freedoms and liberties we’ve been able to enjoy are now being tested and ripped apart at a cruel tyrant masquerading as the leader of the free world’s whim.
This is why we need creators like Jordan Peele now more than ever. Escapism cinema is great when it gives you the ability to shut your brain off and just enjoy whatever film it is your watching. However, those aren’t always the enduring classic movies we remember. You can craft an entertaining picture that has something important to say while not sacrificing the viability of its entertainment. I suppose I have to allow for the possibility once I sit down to actually watch the film that it might not hold up, but I sincerely doubt that.
I know in many instances the horror genre is niche in terms of the low ratio of good to bad movies that get made. I know there’s a lot of crap you have to wade through in order to get to genre reinventing pictures like this one appears to be. So, while I am a nerd who lives for the cinematic exploits of Captain America and the Caped Crusader… I live for this stuff as well. When my beloved horror genre can serve as an axis for the type of existential change this country sorely needs right now… you best believe that’s infinitely more exciting than watching a CGI packed 3-hour incoherent bombastic mess of giant robots battling the each other based off a toy line from the 80’s.
What an exciting time it is to be a cinephile indeed.