The actor Jordan Peele is best known for his comedy, or his impression of former President Barack Obama. That may change this weekend, based on early reviews of his inaugural film ― a fusion of comedy and horror set to debut in the U.S. on Friday.
“Get Out,” a psychological thriller about racism written and directed by Peele, earned a coveted 100-percent score on the film review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.
That means that all reviews for the film on the site so far ― 40, as of Wednesday evening ― are positive. To put that into perspective, only four films of hundreds released in 2016 earned a 100-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Peele described “Get Out” as a “social thriller,” according to entertainment news site IGN. The film is about a young black photographer (played by Daniel Kaluuya) visiting his white girlfriend’s family in upstate New York.
The film, Peele told USA Today, was originally about exploring “the fears of being an outsider,” but he later decided the theme should be about race.
“It just seemed to be a very taboo piece of the discussion to talk about something so horrific as racism in any type of genre other than a film about slavery or something,” Peele said.
Even in the trailer, it’s easy to see that the film explores black-white relations, with white people as the obvious antagonists.
“I knew that this premise was a very tricky one and one that has a lot of potential pitfalls,” Peele said in an interview with IGN.
“I knew that the only way to make this movie work, besides getting the tone right, was that the plot would have to reveal the judgments and the presumptions we would have about the movie are in fact our presumptions,” he continued.
Not all review sites were as generous as Rotten Tomatoes. The film’s IMDB webpage listed a 77 Metascore, which weights reviews according to the fame of the critic. Still, reviews of “Get Out” from a secret screening last month at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival say the film provides a horrifyingly fresh take on race relations in modern America.
“Clearly, ‘Get Out’ will play very differently to black and white audiences — and if the film doesn’t rile a significant contingent of the latter, it simply isn’t doing its job,” Variety critic Peter Debruge wrote in his review.
Debruge added that Peele’s work is a “watershed feat” that delivers “a gloriously twisted thriller that simultaneously has so much to say about the state of affairs in post-Obama America.”
If you’re looking for the politically correct in Peele’s film, give up now.
“I definitely take a devilish glee in putting something that’s not politically correct into the mainstream,” Peele told USA Today.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Feb. 28. 2017 ― Five days after this article was published, movie critic Armond White reviewed “Get Out” poorly in the National Review, lowering the film’s rating score on Rotten Tomatoes to 99 percent.