I went to see the movie Get Out with my bestie last night and I think the internet hyped the revolutionary nature of this film more than it warranted. I have to admit that I am not a horror movie fan in general. Suspense I can do, but thrillers and purposefully scary movies just don’t do it for me. But, when I went to see Get Out I was expecting a movie that was a side step from the norm of the horror/thriller genre, but instead I got a film that fit in its box of predictable plots and contrived characters perfectly. It’s not that Get Out is not a good movie– it is and Jordan Peele has mastered the balance of creepy and comedic. However, this movie does not tackle any “-ism” in a unique way. Peele borrowed techniques and plot devices from a lot of movies before him to give us Get Out, which he himself has said in a number of TV interviews. A lot of people compare the movie to Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, but with twists added by the sadistic use of hypnosis by white women.
In the movie, photographer Chris (Daniel Akaluuya) goes to meet his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents for what seems to be a relaxing weekend upstate. Rose has not told her parents that Chris is black, but insists that everything will be fine, because her dad would have voted for Obama a third time. But, when they arrive, Rose is forced to confront the fact that her liberal parents are not as open-minded as she thought. Or, so we think…Turns out, this family has actually been kidnapping and hypnotizing black artists and transplanting their brains and brawn onto white people who wish they could be like them. Still with me?
That said, I will give the director/writer and cast accolades on the utter mind-boggle of one particular scene. Toward the end of the movie, when Chris is escaping from the Armitage compound in a vintage white Porsche, there is a scene where his girlfriend-turned-assailant is shooting at him with a rifle. The black groundskeeper, who is in the “sunken place” comes to her aid to capture Chris, until through the miracle of “snapping out of it” (invoked by the flash of a cell phone camera), the black groundskeeper manages to come to his senses. He wrestles the gun away from Rose and shoots her before taking his own life. However, the shot does not kill her, and soon Chris and Rose find themselves in a fight over who gets the gun.
Chris starts choking Rose to death and that’s where the mind-boggle happened to me. This black man who is bigger and stronger than this “Becky with the Good Hair” has his hands around her neck and is cutting off her airways, and every stereotype I had ever been shown and told about black men as aggressors welled up inside of me. Somebody save Rose! He’s going to kill her! But wait, she lured him to a plantation, took his phone, had him drugged and hypnotized, and submitted his body to psycho medicine, right? So why then is it so uncomfortable to see him in an act of self defense against her? In it’s last 15 minutes the movie shoves in our faces how we see who and how detrimental that misinformed vision can be, especially when gender and race are involved. I still haven’t processed that feeling of “she’s in danger” even though I knew he was the victim– I’ll report back when I have had time with my therapist on this one.
This was the highlight of the movie for me and I can see professors pulling that last 10-15 minutes as a demonstration in future lectures. Academia seems to love to apply pop culture to idea whirling these days. I would be remiss to not mention that comedian Lil Rel, who plays Chris’ friend Rod, a TSA agent with all of the qualifications of a detective, really makes the movie. I have been a fan of his for years and if you haven’t seen him and comedienne Tiffany Haddish as husband and wife on NBC’s The Carmichael Show, you are missing out.
Overall though, the acting was fine and the chemistry among the cast was definitely there, but if the Academy is searching for their next black movie darling, I hope they wait until a little later in the year before they launch this one into the stratosphere.