Get Out: As Art Reflects Life

I have to tip my hat to Jordan Peele (Key and Peele), who starred in iconic comedic shows with an explosive fan base. But he has my eternal admiration for taking that metamorphic leap into the next phase of his career. Peele decided to try his hand at directing and has crafted one of the most compelling horror movies which mirror societal flaws.

I was surprised that Jordan Peele could pull this off when I watched the trailers, all of the press material, and the film itself. But the truth of the matter is that it wasn’t much of a stretch. If you take a closer look at many of the sketches in Key and Peele, several moments allude to race and being black in America. “Negrotown” is a magical land where black people can live in harmony and be themselves fully. “Alien Imposters” showcases Key and Peele as two men attempting to pick up survivors. Every time they meet someone, they ask riveting questions about black stereotypes, and if the person doesn’t answer honestly, they assume the person in question is alien. There are countless other sketches, but those two stand out. Get Out is a masterpiece full of amazing easter eggs that pay homage to classic horror films like The Shining but also full of symbolic themes.

Chris and Rose sit at a table drinking iced tea.

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut follows a Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and a great relationship with his girlfriend Rose Armitage, played by Girls alum Allison Williams. Chris is nervous about meeting Rose’s parents, and rightfully so. Chris is black, and Rose is white. 

How will the parents react? 

Chris has every reason to be cautious despite Rose’s nurturing and whimsical, laid-back attitude. Rose is already likable and seems to calm his nerves. However, his best friend Rod, played by comedic genius Lil Rel Howery is against this 100% and has some outlandish theories why this is a bad idea. Chris ends up meeting the parents, and they seem inviting at first glance. However, they seem too inviting. Chris becomes increasingly uncomfortable when Rose’s father ( Bradley Whitford) admits some things that seem to be told with good intentions but come off as unnecessary. Rose’s mother (Catherine Keener) is invasive in Chris’s private life, and Rose’s brother Jeremy, played by former X-Men Caleb Landry Jones, is trying to pick a fight, assuming he is already capable of dominating the “battlefield.”

Chris realizes something is wrong with the white folk in Get Out.

Chris starts to notice the odd nature of the servants who just happen to be black, and when guests arrive, it starts to look like something out of a Stephen King novel as all of the white guests gawk at Chris. Luckily a chance encounter with an acquaintance played the amazing Lakeith Stanfield snaps at Chris, warning him to…

GET OUT!!!!!

As a black man, my spidey senses are tingling as I know something is very off, and Rod’s constant warnings add fuel to that fire. Rose seems to dismiss Chris’s claims. We see a glimmer of hope when one of the blind guests, played by Stephen Root, seems to point out the outlandish situation. However, the carpet is pulled out from under him as Chris is taken prisoner, and we find out the horrible truth his girlfriend Rose has lured him here. His relationship with Rose has been planned from the start. In fact, it is revealed that she has done this countless of times.

OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Chris is going to be killed via brain transplant when Root’s character Jim Hudson tells Chris as a superior being, Husdon feels that to maintain longer life, Chris’s body has been chosen because it is in peak condition. Hudson wants to transfer his brain into Chris’s body, and with Chris forced to live in a synoptic frozen state called the Sunken Place, Hudson will achieve a form of immortality. Chris escapes and kills the Armitage family one by one. A cop car appears, and I still remember the audience cheering when Rod pops out.

Rod, the coolest TSA agent ever, talks to his friend Chris on the phone.

He is the king of the TS mother f*cking A. He definitely handled sh*t.

I chose to retell the film’s entire plot because I feel it is very important to show Chris’s point of view and how perilous the situation begins and unwinds into pure terror. The chilling opening music, the killing of the deer, showcases the feeling of helplessness that Chris has felt for years. The interaction with the cop as Rose tries to defend Chris with ease. But we now know the ulterior motive. This film has so many layers with each viewing. We watch how the parents try to appeal to Chris, and Chris can see right through it. We see the odd nature of the black servants and their behavior which is all too heartbreaking. 

I have to thank:

  • CinemaWins for his amazing interpretation of Get Out
  • Vanity Fair for allowing Jordan Peele to break down and debunk some theories of the film.
  • Wisecrack video on the philosophy of Get Out.
  • Kevin McCarthy fantastic Fox 5 DC interview asking some riveting questions.
  • Jordan Peele for his insight in all of his interviews during the press for this film.

These are so worth your time, and they offer so many gems beyond what you will read here.

What I took away from this film is how accurate and painful Peele showed the plight of the black experience. I will forever be proud to be black–blessed and highly favored. That opening scene when Stanfield’s character starts to feel uneasy as a car starts to follow him, my heart races, thinking of any black man or woman having to deal with a cop watching them and wondering how that interaction will go and that fear of death. That horrible feeling of the color of your skin is a lightning rod that you can be a threat and much be treated as such. That feeling when white people assume that just because I’m black, I must have voted for Obama or I am good at sports or must be a father or try to use slang to for me to understand them. That feeling when you are already the only black person in the room, and you can feel all eyes are on you. Chris is trying to maintain his composure because heaven forbid if he reacts out of line, it can spell trouble. Rod is the comedic heart of the film, and a lot of his humor comes out as outlandish, but it turns out he was right.

There are countless easter eggs, but one of my favorite ones is when Chris is imprisoned, he has to use cotton to prevent himself from being brainwashed into the sunken place one last time and to his death. Cotton is symbolic of enslavement by black people, and the instrument of his imprisonment is the tool of his salvation.

I have many cautious thoughts in this post-2020 world Lil Rel explains one facet well:

It goes back to the way I grew up; I’m just honest… Segregation created this. Stories about people like Emmett Till. It’s history; crazy things have happened, so people will embellish and pass that onto their kids as a warning. Jordan was so smart to hit on all these stories that could be considered myths, but a lot of it is rooted in truth.”

Chris holds a camera and realizes something strange is going on.

Jordan Peele offered his concern about how the public would receive this film:

What if white people don’t want to come to see the movie because they’re afraid of being villainized with black people in the crowd? What if black people don’t want to see the film because they don’t want to sit next to a white person while a black person is being victimized on-screen?”

What a time we are living in right now. Racism still rages on with the Black Lives and Asian Lives Matter movements. This is definitely not what you expected for the October Horror movie marathon. I think it’s important to realize that this still exists. Danger can lurk at any corner. Even though this film is cultural appropriation at its worst, it shines a light on how fragile this country is, and to heal the fix the shards, we must first admit there is a problem and learn and listen—then taking the next steps to try and fix it.

Alas there are many that feel this age old question is a hoax, not worth learning in schools, propaganda, too woke, etc etc. The real horror story is not learning from our history and being doomed to repeat it over and over again. I would very much not like a repeat of 2020. Let’s have some people like Rod who are willing to poke at the system and handle sh*t the right way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s