Get the Hell Out Review

During these times of social-distancing, it’s impossible to know how Get The Hell Out, part of the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness slate, would have played to a boisterous and welcoming crowd. It’s fair to say it would have been a lot more fun with the rote dialogue being overpowered by hoots and screams, and the wrestling maneuvers cheered like at some mad luchador match. Instead, at home, the experience of sitting through the film is middling at best.

That’s not to say that I-Fan Wang’s film is without its charms. The film takes the Taiwanese tendency in parliament for debates to devolve into all out brawls, where politics truly does become overtly a contact sport. Exaggerating this madness, Wang ups the genre interest even further, glomming on a corrupt eco-sabotage storyline that evolves, naturally, into a Zombie-like outbreak.

The story revolves around Hsiung (Megan Lai), an activist politician whose own anger gets her kicked out from the legislature. She then cajoles childhood friend and parliamentary security guard Wang (Bruce Ho) to run in her seat, hoping to be able to shape him in puppet-like fashion. Instead, all hell breaks loose, and the concerns of the caucus give rise to the need for survival, as arterial spray coats the halls of parliament.

The film is unabashed in its silliness, amping its cartoonish and broad slapstick in ways that makes the likes of Speed Racer or Scott Pilgrim feel somewhat restrained. On the small screen, this cacophony feels exhausting, but as an adrenaline shot with a boisterous crowd, it likely would have been quite a hoot. It’s fair to say there’s not much going on beyond the overt metaphor, but, frankly, that’s the case for almost every zombie narrative for the last half century. Like so many that have come before, it all pretty much goes according to form, here made slightly different thanks to its unique setting and culturally specific elements.

At its core Get The Hell Out does what it wants to do: to craft a bit of comically violent nonsense with a dash of democratic deviance thrown in. It’s hard to fault it taking the route it wishes it to take, but it’s equally hard to recommend this for standalone viewing. The film, more than any during this year’s slate, feels all the more empty without the energy of a crowd that would have overlooked the more banal elements and focused instead on the joy of watching mayhem play out during its brisk running time.

/Film Rating: 5 out of 10

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About the Author

Jason Gorber is a film journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the Managing Editor of ThatShelf.com, Features Editor at DTK Magazine and a critic for HighDefDigest.