When I heard that Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was being labeled as “anti-white” and “racist towards white people,” I could not have been more excited to see it.
Peele’s social thriller confronts white-elite liberalism head-on and does not let up for a second as micro-aggressions and uncomfortable situations are the star here.
Our main character here is Chris, a young African-American man visiting his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. Chris is played by Daniel Kaluuya who some might recognize from “Black Mirror.”
Before Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, played by Allison Williams, leave for her parents’ estate, Chris asks her if her parents know that he is black. Rose tries to reassure Chris that it does not matter and that her parents are cool. Rose further tries to comfort Chris by saying her father would have voted for Barack Obama three times if he could. The look on Chris’ face during this part tells us all we need to know here.
It is a key moment to the rest of the film that sets up exactly what the audience can expect from the next encounters with white people with seemingly “good intentions.” Peele’s film does not take aim at just overt racism, but the subtler kind that has and continues to plague mainstream white culture.
Rose’s father constantly calls Chris “my man” and remarks about Chris’ genetic makeup are brought up as awkward compliments by the rest of the family. These interactions are constantly uncomfortable. Peele practically forces the audience into laughter with the levels of dark humor at play here.
Despite the nearly limitless micro-aggressions cast towards Chris, it becomes clear that something else is very wrong here too. What follows is a descent into madness, all the while making splitting commentary on the African-American experience in liberally elite and white society.
The comedy here is painful in its reality and introduces situations that are common in a society that poses as tolerant and welcoming. So much of what makes this film as impactful as it is, owes itself to phenomenal acting and excellent use of music throughout.
So much of the comedy comes from Kaluuya’s facial expressions as Chris. The way in which Chris knowingly shrugs off all too familiar racism in this environment tells a much larger story.
Much of the horror elements owe themselves the masterful placement of musical cues and the movie’s soundtrack. Smiling faces on camera played against creepy and eerie violin strings add to the tremendous amount of discomfort with Chris’ encounters with white elites.
At times the soundtrack comes off as a parody of horror movies clearly in satire of the genre and the issue the film addresses. It is an integral element of what makes “Get Out” so good.
While extremely funny, “Get Out” is a necessary and important critique on the other side of political culture that often forgets the roles they play in alienating and oppressing minorities. The way this is done is all too clever.
Should you see it?: Yes!
Comedy and horror combine masterfully here to provide a thought-provoking and ultimately real experience. Peele’s directing debut has hit it out of the park in social commentary along with some very dark humor. For those fans of “Key & Peele,” you will not be disappointed by this movie.
Collegian reporter James Wyatt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jwwyatt2295.