The current political and social climate of the United States is largely centered around the issue of race: prejudice against immigrants, racism toward the black population and a mass amount of hate crimes and hate speech are being committed across the country. In his directorial debut, Jordan Peele, an African-American filmmaker and comedian, aims to tackle the issue of how white people treat black people. His film “Get Out” is strikingly effective in that manner.
Peele, a popular comedian, is primarily known for his role in Comedy Central’s sketch show “Key and Peele.” The show is fairly light-hearted, and tends to poke fun at relevant topics, however obscure they may be. “Get Out” is a huge departure from the silliness of “Key and Peele,” showing Peele’s desire to not only prove himself as a director, but to convey a message to audiences worldwide.
The film stars British actor Daniel Kaluuya (“Skins,” “Doctor Who,” “Black Mirror”) as Chris Washington, a young black man who is going to visit his white girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Allison Williams, of “Girls” fame) family for a weekend. Chris is worried about Rose’s family not knowing that he’s black, but Rose quickly dismisses his concerns and assures him that everything will be okay.
As Chris spends more time around Rose’s parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener), his sense of unease only continues to grow. It is from here on that things start to get very weird — Rose’s mother performs hypnotherapy on him, the black servants around the property act strangely toward him and Rose’s parents (and their friends) seem to be fixated on him. As the film plays out, Chris finds himself in the midst of an occult ploy, and has to find a way to flee from the house.
One of the things that makes “Get Out” so great is the script. Peele’s writing is very real — there’s a large comedic element in the dialogue, subtle nuances towards larger racial issues and believable conversations between Chris and the Armitage family. Rose’s parents’ treatment of Chris (attempting to speak to him in slang, asserting that they would’ve “voted for Obama for a third term,” etc.) capture the reality of the culture shock that the older white generation seems to feel towards African Americans.
It’s not just the dialogue that makes the film feel so real; the acting is superb and believable. Kaluuya’s portrayal of Chris is both brilliant and moving. Chris’s best friend Rod (Lil Rey Howery) is also a crucial element in the film, and Howery portrays the TSA agent flawlessly — he’s charismatic, funny and surprisingly resourceful.
“Get Out” is not just a great thriller movie, it serves as an important message to its audiences. The film speaks to how many white Americans attempt to exploit black people based on stereotypes, where that stereotyping may come from and the mutual “fear” that upper-class whites and middle-class black Americans may have towards each other. The two classes feel so separated that, as earlier stated, it’s almost a culture shock when they clash.
Jordan Peele has asserted himself as an important figure in the television and film industry, and “Get Out” has cemented his artistic integrity into the world of film. Peele aims to continue directing movies that deal with topical issues, so it can be said that there are many people eagerly awaiting to see how Peele will follow up “Get Out.” It’s relevant, funny, disturbing and a very important film, and I would absolutely recommend checking it out.