Get Out is Jordan Peele’s comedy-horror satire that highlights the underlying racism against Blacks in modern America. Peele draws from everyday conversational tropes that seem innocent enough (and they might very well be) and turns them into a frighteningly comedic and entertaining horror-thriller. Get Out calls to attention a conscious/unconscious effort to segregate, objectify and disempower Blacks in society today. The outright objectification of Blacks from slavery may have been abolished, but racism underlies America’s race relations and remain rooted in parts of American society.
As entertaining and racially biting the film was, Get Out managed to carve a niche for itself. Just last year, we saw how Moonlight was revolutionary in the way that it humanized the Black male (and Black identity). For too long, we’ve had movies that portray the Black male figure/Blacks as a menacing vengeful persona with mindsets predominated by revenge and hatred. Films like Django Unchained, though it has good intentions, perpetuate that kind of fear (the kind of fear that fuels bigotry). Blood and violence intertwine itself with the victorious vengeance of the Black protagonist. Get Out is different. Though it doesn’t humanize Blacks in the way that Moonlight does, it provokes questions about underlying racism through speech and behaviour. More importantly, the film’s protagonist Chris navigates this seemingly normal world with eyes wide open, and manages to capture our sympathies and respect. Jordan Peele’s film may not be exactly eye-opening or revolutionary but it does tell us quite effectively, in his own words, to ‘stay woke.’
‘Sikiliza kwa wahega’ is a tune that plays during the opening sequences as Chris and his girlfriend drive to the suburbs to meet the girlfriend’s family. It’s Kenyan and it translates to ‘listen to your elders.’ Childish Gambino’s groovy old-skool Redbone about staying ‘woke’ (basically being aware of things) also features in the film. Both these songs are unconventional and striking and pretty much sums up the other parts of Get Out. In terms of photography, there’s a recurring surreal scene that’s both gorgeous and terrifying. Contrast this to the lingering close-ups of characters that keep tension at an alarmingly high pace. Whether it’s comic relief or suspending disbelief, I had a ball of a time watching it. Peele’s timing and direction is awesome. There’s a lot of Key & Peele style humour in the film which made it a heck of a good time in the cinema for me. The sort of delayed and awkward way the actors delivered their lines was comedic gold.
I can say without a doubt that this was the most fun I’ve had in the cinema this year. Hearty laughs and loads of entertainment value smashed it home for me. But I recognize the seriousness behind the experience. Peele was able to make monsters of the little unassuming things that we see and hear everyday. The ubiquity of it is what makes it scary. The psychological play on the beneath-the-surface racism is what makes Get Out innovative. And like an oxymoron, the satire screams of something disquieting.
Rating: 8.5/10 Daniel Kaluuya and Lil Rey Howery (the BFF) were both awesome. Howery had me in stitches.