I’m going to get the good stuff out of the way first before I tackle the major difficulty I’m having with this film, as I feel the will be much more interesting to read.
I will warn you now, that there might be spoilers.
Get Out is the story of Chris, a black man dating Rose Armitage a white woman. Chris and Rose are about to visit Rose’s parents for the first time since they started dating, things very quickly get uncomfortable. The movie is directed by comedian Jordan Peele and is his first attempt at the horror-thriller genre.
The Armitage’s have a huge country house with a single black man tending the outside and a kindly black woman as the housekeeper. The visual is not a comforting one for Chris, who feels more and more unwelcome with each interaction he has with Rose’s family and their workers.
This is not helped by the fact that the Armitages are hosting an annual get together of a large group of friends, all of whom continue to put Chris on edge.
Every member of the cast does a good job, particularly the lead star Daniel Kaluuya.
Get Out is described as thriller/horror film but there are several elements of comedy as well. I don’t get scared by films typically and this was no exception, but I do love to laugh and this movie made me laugh several times. Chris has a dopey friend named Rod who contributes most of the comedy throughout the movie.
There is some good emotional content in this film as well. At one point, Chris goes into a heart-breaking retelling about the night his mother died and how he sat up all night watching TV, waiting for her to get home. It was not until later he learned she’d laid in the street dying for hours and as a result he blames himself, thinking that if he’d called for help she might’ve been saved. Kaluuya’s acting shines as he tells this story.
Things come to head when Chris meets another black man at the gathering who he recognizes as a friend who had gone missing a while ago. And he is not the only one in the area who has vanished recently.
The difficulty I have with this film, and please, do try and understand, is that the film could very easily be summarized in the following statement.
“White people try to control black people through violent and non-violent means.”
This would not be an issue with me, except for the fact that I cannot shake the feeling that there is a silent “All” placed in front of “white” and in front of “black” in this sentence. Simply put, it seems to me that the undertone of this film, is that all white people are guilty of racism in some way or another. All white people willingly, unwillingly, knowingly, or unknowingly contribute to racism and are ignorant of their contributions to it.
This does not mesh well me but then, I am also the dreaded “white heterosexual male.” So perhaps I actually am ignorant and hateful towards minorities and I just do not realize it. I would argue otherwise.
This movie makes it seem as if white people can do nothing to help racism. I understand there is bountiful ignorance when it comes to the topic of race. But I can also very firmly state that I am not ignorant in this regard. I refuse to compromise this.
This ignorance is portrayed pretty well actually with comments such as “I would’ve voted for Obama a third time.” and “How would you describe the modern day African-American experience?”
These are not the comments of the kind of stereotypical racist that a movie would normally portray. These are the comments of ignorant suburbanites who might actually think they’re helping but are too dense to realize how little they are.
And these people DO exist, I would never say they don’t. Believe me, I go to a University chalk-full of these types of imbeciles.
It’s almost cartoonish how these people are portrayed and in fact it is almost cartoonish how they act in real life so I guess the movie gets some points for an accurate depiction.
The difficulty I have with this film is not made easier by the fact that I can never really know the director’s intentions so I cannot be certain how deep this satire is supposed to run.
Maybe the thought I am having is the exact thought Peele intended me to have, and then I am supposed to have the obvious observation that, if not all white people are part of the problem, than not all black people are part of the problem. If this is the case then, with apologies to Peele, I can say that I do not particularly appreciate the fact that he feels I need to be told this. I am well aware of how these things.
And I will not falter in making the claim that I do not partake in racism or contribute to it, in any way. I will not budge an inch on this. Because I do not.
However, I would theorize that there are indeed people who would budge on this, those are the people who voted for Donald Trump in an “act of rebellion” against “political correctness.” These people are foolish and have placed themselves among the supporters of a psychopath, but where else are they to go?
This is a danger which can be likened to things that are said of another kind of people, Muslims. A typical observation made about relations with Islam is that if we demonize Muslims in our sector of the world they will very likely be forced into alliances with more dangerous and extreme elements. Films with unconscious messages like Get Out’s could have the same effect, if such an effect exists. I am skeptical about this because I would not dirty myself in either such way, but I cannot speak for everyone else.
This film would be infinitely stronger if it forced the audience to view every single character as an individual and did not take the easier route of simply making every white person an accomplice or complicit in the horror befalling Chris and his predecessors.
But perhaps another thing I’m supposed to realize is that this is how black people are thought of in the real world and how much wronger that is compared to a silly movie…
Trying to decipher Get Out has almost become a metaphysical exercise for me.
The worst part is that I am probably the only thing actually thinking that much about this.
I will say that it seems to me that most people in today’s world are afraid to even speak about race or Islam for that matter and I would not describe myself as being afraid to talk about either. So at the very least I seem to be different from the common person.
Then again, it is also possible that I am not the intended audience of the film. The term, “woke” keeps popping up and I am still not entirely sure what it means, though I have been told that I am it. If woke means an awareness that racism is alive and in fact seems to be on a bit of a rebound, and that people treat other people abhorrently…then I think it probably would be better to just say that. Not come up with a cool catch-phrase to throw around on Twitter while doing precisely NOTHING to help the issues at hand. Whenever I ponder history and think about issue such as slavery or segregation, I cannot stomach the idea that the contribution of people in my time would be to have coined the term “woke.”
I am not even sure how the movie could be changed to fix this issue I’m having and as I said, it is very likely that I am missing something. Though, I did see the film twice, and this difficulty only grew worse after the second showing.
However I would never say this movie “offended” or “triggered” me or whatever else it is that left-wing children say when things get too heavy for them. Because I’m not a baby and I don’t need to have my hand held through uncomfortable and controversial topics. I would also not go so far as to say this movie is “anti-white.” Because again, I’m not a baby and don’t have to cry myself to sleep thinking about “reverse-discrimination” and other nonsense that alt-right children like to prattle on about.
Every word or phrase that I just used in quotation marks could be stricken from all language and I would consider it a notable improvement.
The keyword in both of that paragraph would be: children. And the relevant corollary to that would be that these children should grow up before they expect to be taken seriously.
Getting back to Get Out though,
Overall the movie was also entertaining both times I saw it, which means it has to be doing something right. At the very least it got me thinking and in all likelihood it get me thinking too much for my own good and more than it intended. Taking it just as movie, it’s pretty good. It does not fall into the typical horror nonsense of jump-scares and monsters and over-the-top visuals. The monsters in this film are people just like in real-life. Thinking about its real-world implications makes me feel disquieted but probably not for the reasons that Peele intended. The only issue that really means for the movie is that its message might unclear or too abstract. Overall Get Out gets a 4/5.