‘Get In’ – When A Critic Needs to Be A Detective

Film

During the Lockdown I’ve been catching up on films I’ve been meaning to see, and have been transported by trash and Palme D’Or winners alike. I’ll happily overlook a film’s technical inadequacies if there’s a germ of originality.

Often there isn’t. Hollywood has too much at stake to upset its audiences, so I look for more daring fare elsewhere. The Lighthouse, Climax, Funny Games, The Long Day Closes, Irreversible, Into The Void, Midsommar, Time of the Wolf and Mother! constitute the more acceptable arthouse end of ‘endurance test’ movies but I’ll just as happily head to the bottom of the Netflix bargain bin.

Which is how ‘Get In’ caught my eye. The title is a desperate attempt to link to the smash hit ‘Get Out’ by the fact that it stars a black male lead. Its French title was ‘Furie’, which is also the title of a very good Vietnamese action film that gets reviewed in its place. Bad retitles doom films; when ‘The Witches of Zagguramurdi’ became ‘Witchin’ & Bitchin’ and ‘The Hidden Face’ became ‘The Bunker’ both of these terrific films confused English-speaking audiences.

I ran a review search on ‘Get In’ and found nothing except a bile-filled review from a site called Common Sense Media, which clearly pays big bucks to stay near the top of the Google search engine and feels creepily evangelist-funded.

‘Get In’ comes over as a psychological B-horror reminiscent of Straw Dogs. It could have been called ‘Man Up’. Paul, a mild-mannered history teacher, returns from holiday with his family in their camper van late at night and find themselves locked out of their own house by squatters. When Paul calls the police they first arrest him – surprise – for standing around while black. It transpires that the white squatters have rights.

This is a hot-button topic in Europe. Friends of mine in Barcelona have been prevented from removing illegal squatters from their flat for the past three years; such scams have become a highly profitable business, with squatters’ rights pre-sold overseas. Paul moves to a campsite while the toothless lawyers squabble and delay, caught in France’s byzantine court system. The effect on Paul’s already shaky marriage is disastrous.

Urged to get tough by the campsite manager, Paul is blooded in a night of male rituals involving booze, pills, girls and hunting. This firelit scene reminded me of the bloodcurdling kangaroo hunt in Wake in Fright, a film the Australian PM banned for presenting his country in a bad light.

Will Paul now be fired up enough to take back his house and reclaim his ailing manhood? Will he put his theoretical teaching into practice? Well, there’s a twist to that. Suffice it to say that things do not go as planned. A final scene that plays under the credits appears to switch the film to a far more reactionary track.

So, just another another thick-ear B movie. But something felt off, so I did some checking and several anomalies surfaced.

‘Wake in Fright’ is now regarded as a classic but flopped everywhere except in France, where it proved popular and influential.

The film’s night visuals and soundscapes conjure the Paris riots and are too sophisticated for a mere B-horror. In particular, the soundtrack features the Peter Cat Recording Co., a boho outfit that suggests a strong guiding intelligence. The typeface used for the ‘Get In’ intertitles is similar to the ones used by provocateur director Gasper Nöe.

The director Olivier Abbou made the similarly themed ‘Territories’, deliberately referencing Guantanamo Bay.

The scene playing under ‘Get In’s end credits seems a remarkable mis-step for a film so carefully constructed. A second look suggests that its intention is the opposite of its surface appearance. It is is a deliberate provocation, a corrective smack to the liberal mindset.

‘The Hunt’, a politicised reworking of ‘The Most Dangerous Game’, caused outrage in the US (with Trump tweeting against it) even though it’s nowhere near as smart. The ending of ‘Get In’ is as violent as you’d expect, although not as much as, say, the Purge films, and its refusal to simplify its female lead’s sexuality seems to have confused the online reviewers. They need to see more European movies. ‘Get In’ is on Netflix now.

8 comments on “‘Get In’ – When A Critic Needs to Be A Detective”

  1. A fine reforgotten film (as Iain Sinclair would say) is The Late Show (1977) with Art Carney as a world weary old private eye who just wants to retire but becomes entangled in a murder case and with a kooky old lady (Lily Tomlin) who insists he traces her missing cat.

    Absolutely wonderful. How on earth has this minor classic disappeared from view ?!

  2. SteveB says:

    I got Wake in Fright thanks to Admin’s rec and it’s really good.
    Definitely will give ths a try too
    By the way I’ve seen The Hunt now on Amazon Prime. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, for what that’s worth!!!

  3. Rachel Green says:

    Watched ‘Get In’ last night. Thanks for the rec 🙂

  4. admin says:

    You see what I mean about the end shot? That’s got to be deliberately ironic, hasn’t it?

    I loved ‘The Late Show’. A few others from that period:

    Harry and Tonto

    Fire Sale

    The Lonely Guy

    They Might Be Giants

    No Way To Treat A Lady

    Norman, Is That You

    Busy Bodies

    Joe

    Harold & Maude (obvs)

  5. So glad you love The Late Show – I thought I was alone here

    Harold and Maude is my favourite film – I watched it every week as a teenager and know every line of dialogue.
    ‘I suppose you think that’s funny, Harold’

    Agree with admin re No Way To Treat A Lady (George Segal is disgracefully underrated) and Busy Bodies – I love Donald E Westlake’s Dortmunder series. We’re certainly on the same wavelength……..alright !

  6. Rich says:

    I loved They Might Be Giants. Great cast. There was a time about twenty years, films like this used to turn up on the BBC in the early hours of the morning. I watched No Way To Treat A Lady around the same time.

    The Late Show is available as part of the Warner Archive series. It’s a Region 1 dvd-r disc.

  7. Helen Martin says:

    Thanks for the info, Rich. I vaguely remember it coming out but there was very little said about it at the time so I forgot it.
    About the squatters. I’ve just finished re-reading On the Loose and was confused by the 11 year rule referred to in that. Does it mean that if you have rented a property for 11 years it gives you some sort sort of a lien against the title? That just seems weird, although some sort of tenants’ rights against an arbitrary sale might make some sense.

  8. Ian Luck says:

    In the mid 1980’s, a good friend of mine lived in a squat that had once been a nightclub. It was palatial – he actually lived in the flat that the manager would have lived in, and had some great parties in the club area, which, being a club, meant that there was no problem fitting record decks and a sound system. Electricity, you say? Easy, if you know somebody, who knows somebody who can safely ‘divert’ electricity from the mains, fitting a ‘black box’ (best not to ask) And then remove, and make good when you move out.

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