“Get Out” starts an important conversation

Graphic by Casey Linenberg '19

Graphic by Casey Linenberg '19

BY MARIANA JARAMILLO '20 

Some people like to say that racism is over — or at least, that it is almost impossible to find in certain “progressive” communities. “Get Out,” Jordan Peele’s first feature-length film, expertly dispels that myth with the story of a family of pseudo-liberals hiding a disturbing secret.

“Get Out” stars English actor Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington and Allison Williams of “Girls” as his girlfriend Rose Armitage. The movie begins unsettlingly with a scene of a black man being abducted by a masked man in a white sports car. We learn that Chris, who is black, is going with Rose to visit her family in their small white suburb for the first time. Rose’s parents make a show of their sensitivity toward race — her father is proud to say that he would have voted for Obama a third time. But Chris soon learns that something strange is go- ing on with the few black people in the suburb, culminating in a shocking but brilliant twist.

“Get Out” is a critique of the faux allyship practiced by many white people. It’s easy to talk about not being a racist, but when it comes down to doing something about it, they are often absent — or perhaps even worse, their ill-conceived efforts only propagate the problem.

Nowhere is this message more obvious than in the scene where Chris and Rose get stopped by the police and the policeman asks to see Chris’ driver’s license even though he is not driving. Chris has been conditioned to quietly comply with the police, but Rose “bravely” begins to provoke the policeman by calling him out on his obvious racial profiling with total disregard for Chris’ safety.

The movie doesn’t only offer a bitingly accurate social commentary — it’s also a masterpiece of horror and suspense. Peele manages to build tension by intensifying each subsequent racial microaggression that occurs.

One of the most terrifying characters is the girl- friend’s brother, who during dinnertime asks Chris to wrestle and then tells him that with his genetic makeup and build, he’d be a beast. While this is already an awful thing to say, with Peele’s remarkable directing it makes the viewer think that maybe the brother means this in a more literal sense.

It is not always the case that a comedian so gracefully transforms into a force to be reckoned with as a director. This is certainly the beginning of a long career for Peele and a very exciting time for filmmaking as the film marks a clear turn toward original work becoming the norm. “Get Out” is a cinematic masterpiece that expertly manages to capture the horrifying time in which we live.

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