Review: Jordan Peele’s Get Out kills two birds with one stoneBy yuming zai January 31, 2018 With the second month of 2018approaching, the Oscars is not far ahead. Jordan Peele’s career debut movie Get Out comes out strong withnominations in Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. Thismovie is highly popular for sure, with an outstanding 30 million box officeintake, making it an early highlight of 2017. This 1 hour and 45 minutesthriller not only succeeded in being a horror movie and scaring the audiencesout of their seats, but also embedded social commentary that evoked deeperthoughts. Peele broke the conventional by choosing Chris Washington, a blackmale in his twenties, as the protagonist in this horror film (instead of thecliché young, white, and blonde female).
Through Chris’ action in defendinghimself from awkward and uneasy social interactions with the privileged whites,Peele wraps the racial tension inside the tension of the storyline, making thefilm overtly political yet insanely watchable.The opening scene of Get Out justifies that this screenplayis first and foremost a horror movie. The movie starts with Andre (played byLakeith Stanfield), a black man walking alone quietly along the streets ofmidnight while a car playing “Run rabbit run” pulls over. Then there’s some beating,grunting, choking… and Andre is abducted and put into the trunk of the car. Thescene is strikingly similar to the opening of the horror classic The Sixth Sense by M. Night Shyamalan.The camera then switches toChris’ home.
Chris is a black, warmhearted, sympathetic guy, who has beendating a white, beautiful, cool girl named Rose (played by Allison Williams)for 5 months. They’re packing “cozy clothes and deodorant” to leave to seeRose’s parents — rich, liberal, self-identified white people — who live ina spacious and luxurious house in a highly remote suburb. Chris worryingly andhesitantly asks Rose: “Do they (Rose’s parents) know I’m black?” Rose reassureshim and says that her parents are not racist people and her dad would “vote forObama for the third term if he could”When they arrived, Chris isgreeted with a big hug from Rose’s mom Missy (played by Catherine Keener). Rose’sdad Dean (played by Bradley Whitford) acts overdramatically nice to Chris, repeatedlyreferring to him as “my man” and tells him that he adores Tiger Woods. These sugarcoated words not at all make Chris feel relaxed; especially when both servantsin their house, Walter (Marcus Henderson) and Georgina (Betty Gabriel), areblack. Though things got worse the next day. When guests came and Chris is putunder the center of attention, he experiences microaggressions one afteranother.
The guests with their skin-deep smiles offensively squeezes Chris’muscles, talk about how “black is in fashion”, and even openly ask Rose “Is ittrue? Is it better?” (Indicating the common belief about African genitalia) Chris has to defend himself andrely on instinct to know who is a threat. The story unfolds like a layeredonion, steadily revealing new information that connects with previous questionmarks and creates new question marks, too. The title “Get Out” echoes in viewers’heads as the conflict escalates, implying that Chris might be under attentionfor something more chilling than plain racial tension. It’s just pure joy tosee the story progress along the thought-through plot.Peele is a self-claimed horrorfan: “I love horror. I love thrillers. I love these new social thrillers.”Peele was previously involved in an American sketch comedy show Key & Peele (created byKeegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) that uses humor to touch on topics such asethnic stereotypes and racial tension.
Peele says he’s been writing the script ofthis film for 8 years. “The purpose of it (not only) became to represent theblack experience, but also just (represent) race in the horror-movie genre andin the public conversation, in a way I felt was taboo.” Peele mocks the ideathat white people who like black athletes and musicians are unconditionally notracist. He has said that his target for the movie Get Out are the white liberal elites, who think theiropen-mindedness and their love for Obama have solved racism. Making a storylinearound Chris allows the audience to see, hear, and feel the distressingexperiences black people in America face every day. Chris’ hobby in takingphotos with his Canon produced clips in the first person point of view, as ifthey’re really there viewing through Chris’ eyes.
What’s special about Get Out that other films in the samegenre lack, is the superb acting done by its casts. Catherine Keener andBradley Whitford’s craftiness accompanied by their exaggerated smiles directlydissipates the scent of evil plans. Betty Gabriel’s haunting and melodramaticdialogue with Chris is just another example of effective and memorable acting inthe film. LilRel Howery, who plays Chris’ best buddy Rod — a TSA (TransportationSecurity Administration) officer who many times says “White people love makingblack people sex slaves and sh*t” — provides comic relief just when it isnecessary.GetOut is a horrorthriller with daunting suspense and shocking clues appearing constantly fromthe beginning till the final twist. The political intentions did not make Get Out any less enjoyable. The connotedsocial commentary through marvelous story telling kills two birds with onestone, making Get Out a must-watchfor 2017.