It feels appropriate that The Shape of Water and Get Out are two movies that will be entwined with each other, since they both represent two motion pictures that would regularly be nominated for the Rondo Hatton Award, an honor coveted by Monster Mavens like myself and Guillermo Del Toro in the past. With his recent Oscar win, writer/director Jordan Peele has joined the “Rondo Hatton Appreciation Society” for Get Out. [For more on Rondo Hatton, visit http://rondoaward.com].
A satirical terror flick with comedy overtones, Get Out can be construed as an explanation of a black man’s paranoia. It is the story of an African American named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his white girlfriend Rose Armitrage (Allison Williams). Rose invites Chris to meet her parents in the suburbs. “Wishing that Obama could have had a third term as president,” Daddy Armitrage (Bradley Whitford) and Mommy Armitrage (Catherine Keener) greet Chris warmly.
Behind the smiles, something sinister lies beneath the surface. Mommy Armitrage is a hypnotherapist and she unlocks Chris’ repressed memory. The Armitrage suburban home seems to transform into a gothic Southern Plantation and the African American servants appear to transform into the “Stepford slaves.”
To reveal more, would be a disservice to the shock, surprise and belly laughs found in Get Out. To his director’s credit, Jordan Peele does a great job with the film’s pacing. He fills his quiet scenes with tension that resolve with either a moment of terror or humor. Like Orson Welles, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (Oscar-winning screenplay writers who lost Best Picture Awards), Jordan Peele will be a force to reckon with for future movie awards seasons.
The 35th Annual Miami Film Festival wraps up this weekend. This festival’s awards will be revealed Saturday Night at the Olympia Theater, with the Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building hosting the night party. Sunday will be the last opportunity to see April’s Daughters on the big screen. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a documentary about Professor Fred Rogers, the man who created Mister Roger’s Neighborhood on PBS. While neither film is in contention for a Rondo Hatton Award, both are a fine way to quietly wrap up a St. Patrick’s Day weekend.