One of the most readily-available defenses against accusations that a movie is "dumb" typically involves something along the line of, "Hey sometimes I want to just turn off my brain and enjoy something entertaining, alright?" There's this weird tension that seems to exist between the idea that a movie can simply be entertaining for the sake of spectacle and drama, and the idea that a movie can also use those two things to say something deeper and more meaningful about life and the experience of living it (as lots of art aims to do). In fact, it's almost like there is some tacit and unspoken cultural agreement that the two conditions are mutually exclusive: some movies are to be considered and thought about, some are to be enjoyed as simple entertainment. There are definitely movies that fit relatively squarely into one camp or the other, but the mark of a truly great movie is the ability to function wholly and with precision on both levels. Not only does Get Out accomplish this, but it does so in absolute homerun fashion.

The setup is simple: Chris is a Black guy going to meet his White girlfriend's parents for the first time as the two spend the weekend at their country estate. What starts out as a bit of overzealous "trust me, I totally love black people!" kinda bullshit slowly reveals itself to be something a bit more sinister, and this is where writer/director Jordan Peele really has his fun. The tantalization of what's really going on is the point where Get Out sinks its teeth into you, and every time you find yourself thinking to yourself "Ok so just what the fuck is actually going on here," that's Peele expertly working the film's jaws back and forth into your bones. With a script that is tighter than a drumline snare, surefooted direction, and fantastic performances on the part of pretty much the entire cast, Get Out is a film that straps you to your chair as you watch it, then demands that you think about it and turn it over in your head as you go about your routine the next day.

Rare is the thriller that works so well on so many levels. Taken at face value, Get Out is a tight and clever little genre piece; a sort of haunted house story with a truly unique set of villains and a truly mystifying mystery..but Peele has so much more that he wants to say, and he says it with absolute aplomb. Baked into the film's DNA is a perfectly timely allegory about race, identity politics, and the fetishization of Black culture and Black bodies...each element expertly woven into the script in a way that never commandeers the story. Instead, Peele's message simmers just under the surface: never present enough to hijack the viewing experience or make the audience feel finger-wagged, but unmistakeable upon further reflection to anybody with half a brain. It's subtext at its highest form, just like everything else in Get Out.