commentary: ‘get out’ revisited

An African/American named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, Black Panther) and his caucasian girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) travel to stay at her parents (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener) house for the weekend. When they appear, Chris analyzes the family’s overly courteous conduct as uneasy efforts to tolerate their daughter’s mixed-race association with him. But as their vacation progresses, a succession of disturbing happenstances and detections indicate him to unearth a certainty of events that he would never conceive himself entangled in.

The opening scene sets the tone of thrill and suspense around racial superiority among Caucasians and those of color when we’re drawn into a quaint suburban neighborhood as we witness an African/American young man walk down the sidewalk anxiously followed by awhite coupe creepily driving by, then a masked figure exits the vehicle and puts the young African/American to sleep in a rear-naked choke hold, dragging him across the cement and popping the trunk and placing him inside in abduction.

The first shot of Chris we see is him shaving in the bathroom. He’s a clean-cut guy. His best friend Rod (Lil rel Howery, Tag, Uncle Drew) works as an agent for the Transportation Security Administration. Chris has frequent conversations with Rod over-the-phone throughout the film. Rod serves the story as the reflective character Chris bounces thoughts off of; a clever screenwriting technique. Jordan Peele’s script uses another technique known as the ‘false ally’, an advanced tactic that serves for an intriguing twist in the third act of any given plot. Daniel Kaluuya’s performance is whole in a broad range of behaviors that are at true testament to his acting abilities. We see him perform arrogantly with self-assurance in calm and unruffled strides of swagger. While in other scenes, he’s crying like a baby, behaving defenselessly, punitively, bloody, beaten, shocked, angry and just downright scared.

Writer/Director Jordan Peele uses insistent sound effects necessary to enhance suspenseful elements throughout the story in an alarming and effective manner. This is a technique that’s usually employed in films within the horror and thriller genres. To serve as an example from the film, a black maid Georgina (Betty Gabriel) who works for Rose’s family, crosses the hall when Chris wakes up at midnight night to go outside and feed his nicotine addiction. It’s here when we witness Peele’s taste in suspense and horror, in a nerve-racking moment when Chris sets his eyes on a beastly Walter (Marcus Henderson), the family’s servant, standing still in the dark distance, then suddenly sprinting rapidly toward Chris with all his might and just as we think he’s going to tackle Chris, he turns and runs away. This scares the crap out of us because we’re with Chris; we’ve done a skin-jump. Chris is the protagonist which means he’s the representation of the audience.

The distinctive role black people play in the film is innovative and culturally relative given that the white family wants black people around because they are admired, hip and culturally with-it.  As opposed to a clichéd racist motive to abduct, brainwash and torture African/Americans out of purely ignorant hatred. This all rings true, to a more or lesser degree depending on your demographic. Though racism is still rampant, contemporary American culture suggests the opposite in certain areas of the country when it comes to the acceptancy of interracial relationships, and given its elevated status among the famous, it’s something that is modish on granular levels.

Peele’s intellectual script touches on psychological servo-mechanisms that relate the brain to the nervous system in plausible scenes that explore hypnosis techniques, performed by Rose’s mother on Chris, which serves as a tactical cheat to many plot points used by Peele, to practically paralyze Chris, making him go unconscious, so that this looney family can cause affliction upon him, by the mere circular motion of a spoon in a mug. The psychotic acts of Rose’s family upon African/Americans will curdle your blood once revealed. It’s refreshing to see such originality in a script. Jordan Peele deserves his recognition and its exciting to anticipate what else his mind will conjure up onto the silver-screen in the future. Eyes will bug-out and jaws will drop when watching Get Out.

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