I will likely forget to mention that this film is hilarious.
Director/writer: Jordan Peele
Starring :Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Catherine Keener
Music by Michael Abels
Cinematography Toby Oliver
Journeying to his girlfriend’s parents house, a white police officer asks to see Chris’ driver’s licence – a completely unwarranted action, based on needless prejudice and suspicion – on his way out, his black TSA agent arrives in a police-like vehicle to save the day. Of all the embedded analogies to racism, this sidenote police behaviour towards black civilians is Get Out at its subtlest. No massive statements. Instead, a hyperbolic narrative is bookmarked by the fears that black people go through everyday: wrongful accusations. Just as Chris makes it out the house, we’re all thinking what they’re thinking, ‘a black guy strangling a white girl…’ – this wouldn’t look good for two white people, nevermind for the fairly muscular strangler. Thankfully it’s a fake-out, but the point remains: no one would believe Chris (obviously because a story about hypnotism is insane) – because ultimately it wouldn’t matter, just like when he wasn’t driving before.
Do something. Liberal ignorance and self ignorance are two highly destructive forces at this moment in time. As a young boy, Chris sat at home while his mother died in the street after a meaningless, irresponsible car accident – a hit and run. What good did it do Chris to just sit at home watching Tv when he could have done something to save his mother. Get Out is primarily a movie about the neo-liberal’s guiltiness, but it is in part addressing the guilt of the black bystander, doing nothing as they watch Tv, unmotivated to do something that may save needlessly lost lives.
Get Out works like a psychoanalysis, not of an individual, but of a large particular part of society. Discussions regarding genetics are put under the microscope. The selfishness of the Armitage family supposes that the “genetic superiority” of black people are put to better use with the white Armitage brain. And I love the hypocrisy that Peele weaves into the narrative: as the big twist reveals that the blind man Jim Hudson (Stephen Root) intends to take over Chris’s body in order to see through his eyes – “I want your eyes, man, I want those things you see through”.
I left the cinema shouting to myself, “If only! If only the hypocrites would try to see through the eyes of the black race” ‘#alllivesmatter and all that business’. I’m in no way putting myself on pedestal as a saviour – I haven’t done anything to help. But, this movie certainly got me angry enough about the inequalities, to the point where I felt what must only be a slither of what the minority might feel like. I wouldn’t expect anyone to apologise for being a certain skin colour, white or black, and Peele wouldn’t want you to either, rather he would ask that we understand that certain behaviour surrounding the discussion of race is destructive to achieving equality – the prejudice; the double standards; the systemic problems with the law and society; so on and so on.
What’s worse is that there’s no specific reason that it has to be black people. As Jim says, (to the best of my memory) “who knows why these things keep going, and I don’t care”. The family’s plan to abduct black people once stemmed from something quite racist into something that is just commonplace. There’s no consideration as to why they’re taking black lives, they’re just targeted them because it’s tradition – and fuck me if that’s not an honest reflection on how this shit gets perpetuated.
Chris is quite an open eyed character, he’s suspicious and rightfully so – the other lambs were drawn to the slaughter, while those like Andre were avoiding the confrontation are getting attacked regardless – Chris and Rod we’re smart, cautious and they just managed to survive (and that’s a damn shame of itself. While the truth is still under wraps, yet to be revealed, you would be right to think that they were crazy for being so suspicious, but it’s the sad truth that they were right all along). Hell! the only reason Chris prevented slavery was by picking cotton and deafening himself to the hypnosis – that’s some fucked up shit.
And, obviously I have to bring up the most tongue in cheek moment of the film: hypnosis with the silver spoon. Sure, a bit on the nose, but, with enough conviction, the silliest of ideas can be interesting. You just know it’s something Peele might’ve considered removing but just couldn’t in his heart. In the end, there’s enough self awareness and devotion to the idea that it pays off well enough. This conviction to the idea is what holds Get Out together, and at bay from being a laughing stock.
As a reviewer, I’m clearly better at discussing the filmmaking side than I am about getting passionately political. I think my understanding of the situation widened a little bit after watching Get Out, and that’s a pretty awesome thing for a movie to accomplish. I fucking love the movie by itself, but when I also factor in how it stirred so much sympathy and empathy, and anger, it made me feel for something outside of the world of the film, that’s pretty fucking incredible.
I didn’t want to overdo the analysis on this film because I just wanted to get to a point of understanding the hidden problems about society that Peele wanted to address. As always, thank you for reading.