Why “Get Out” is so important
Peele’s debut film speaks out on racial fears
April 5, 2017
I’ll be honest, Jordan Peele was never really on my radar. His work in “Key and Peele” was always unimpressive for me. While creative, it never really made a lasting impact or made me sink down to the floor in tears, wriggle around like a worm and smack anything close to me. If you are a comedian, my approval isn’t earned if a raging headache and an alarmingly high heart rate aren’t the result of the joke.
When I first saw the trailer for Peele’s new comedy-thriller fusion, “Get Out”, I thought, “Hell no.” You’re telling me that a black man is the victim of a planned capturing of his body, mind, and qualities to benefit an old white man? No thanks, I’ll pass.
As its premiere date of February 24 approached and I looked more and more into it, I could tell that this movie wasn’t cheesy, it was, in fact, “hella woke” as the twitter frenzy described it.
Social media exploded after its release starting the “#getoutchallenge” where people run quickly towards the camera and then quickly turn away as one of the black servants, Walter did in an incredibly cheesy, but creepy way.
As its popularity grew, “Get Out” received $28 million at the box office in its opening weekend. Now with over $150 million at the box office, Peele has become the first African American writer and director to surpass the $100 million mark for a debut film.
“Get Out” was made completely on a $4.5 million budget with no A-list movie stars, so you could say that Peele made some serious bank.
After seeing the movie and the incredibly current underlying messages that it holds, it was clear that this was not about the money.
From the moment we meet Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams), it is clear that this movie speaks more to racial fears than the jumpscares and face-coverings of your typical horror film.
When Chris and Rose hit a deer on the way to her parent’s house, a police officer asks to see Chris’ ID, even though he was not the one driving. Right off the bat, Peele addresses a very recurring and prominent issue in this country: police brutality.
Throughout the rest of the movie, he addresses suburban racism, eugenics, cultural appropriation and slavery.
The movie was perfectly composed, as the film became more and more intense with every minute. It starts with subtly racist comments from Rose’s family, which were uncomfortable, then the feel of the movie changes as Chris is sent to “the sunken place,” where Chris has no control over what happens to him. It later progresses to an all white ‘block party’ where older white people examine him to see which qualities they like most, as “black is in fashion” (hint hint, that’s cultural appropriation). It continues with an auction of Chris to the white community (to see who could get those qualities) and ends with the thrilling set up of a brain transplant to the winner of the auction who wanted to have those qualities the most.
In general, this movie was clearly meant to expose the festering ignorance of some liberal white people.
The notion of cultural appropriation was creepily portrayed, and the recurring message of “the mind is a terrible thing to waste” was quite impactful. It was definitely creepy but I wasn’t more scared than when I watched “Coraline” (2009), so this movie doesn’t really deserve the title of “horror.”
On a lighter note, Peele expertly used comedy throughout the movie. From the subtle faces of Chris as he reacts to uncomfortable and racist comments, to the explosive remarks of his best friend Rod Williams as he warns him not to go, this movie had it all. Peele proved that he can keep a packed movie theater sitting on the edge of their seats, awaiting the next laugh.
At the end of the movie, my heart actually stopped. After everything that Chris had gone through to escape, the final scene made it appear as if a cop car approached him, and he was going to be blamed when he wasn’t in the wrong (which would seem highly appropriate given the subject that this movie chose to address).
To bring the movie back up after several minutes without comedy, the sirens, lights and car belonged to Rod and he saved the day.
While it did have an entirely different feel, I was incredibly discontent with the typical, ‘All is well, let’s drive into the sunset’ type ending of the movie. There are no comments from Chris, who seems to internalize what just happened like he internalized the death of his mother.
Even with the outcries of everyone in the theater at the end of the movie, this movie can still be described as a major success.
With everything going on in this country right now, Peele aptly released this movie a little over one month after the inauguration of you know who. He proved that he can stray away from his typical flat-skit writing and transition to highlighting racial issues while using a perfect mix of thrill and comedy.
Tip: It may be difficult now, but seeing “Get Out” in a packed movie theater is the way to go. Comments of other members of the audience are sometimes the best part, especially as Chris starts to escape when he cleverly plugs his ears to avoid being put to sleep. Don’t miss out on the older women screaming out, “Now go find rose!” or “Hit him harder!”
Favorite Character: 100% Rod Williams, the incredibly hilarious, “m—–rf—– TSA,” best friend of the year.
Contact the writer, Isis Amusa, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Creative Commons, labeled for noncommercial reuse.