Racial hatred adopts a happy face in Jordan Peele’s exhilarating horror, while an explorer’s search for a buried city is a glorious ode to failure
Some films are made in direct response to the politics of their era; others are indelibly claimed by the times in which they find themselves. A sly, savvy horror film that doubles as a particularly grisly comedy of manners, Jordan Peele’s Get Out (Universal, 15) is a bit of both. The fear and restless resistance driving the Black Lives Matter movement clearly informs Peele’s wicked what-if scenario, in which smiling white liberalism proves a ghastly contemporary cover for Confederate-era race hate, with the wonderful Daniel Kaluuya as its bewildered but redoubtable target.
The unhappy accident is that the film was released into Trump’s America of “alt-right” empowerment, an environment in which this satirical vision of ethnic cleansing no longer looks entirely surreal. The uncannily recognisable absurdity of Get Out is what gives the film its live, spitting electrical current. I could point out a plotting wobble here or there, but it’s petrifying and exhilarating on terms that transcend mere genre design. It’s a horror film in which the enemy lies beyond the confines of the screen.