Jordan Peele sets the standard for horror films and race relations
Kayla Hewitt, Staff Writer
“Get Out” is the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, of sketch show Key and Peele fame. The film follows a young black man from an unnamed city who decides to take a weekend trip with his white girlfriend to visit her parents. What’s expected to be a weekend of microaggresions and gentle racial insensitivity instead turns into a fight to survive.
“Get Out” manages to deftly turn most black people’s personal fears and anxieties about being hyper visible in all white spaces into a white-knuckle thriller. Get Out is raw and honest- while the scenario may not be the same, the feelings of being scrutinized, talked down to, and studied like an animal is something very familiar. Interestingly, the film manages to create an intensely and clearly black story with only five black characters ever appearing on screen more than once.
The film is filled with the quick, witty dialogue you would expect of a successful comedy writer. Chris’ friend Rod, in one scene, goes on a bizarre tangent about Jeffrey Dahmer, to which Chris quickly hangs up on him. There are the awkward conversations at the party that Rose’s family throws, where her white family members proclaim their love of Barack Obama and Tiger Woods to Chris. But the film does not only rely on humor- the stunning imagery of the film plays a large role, from the wounded deer that Chris associates with to the silent bingo scene reminiscent of a slave auction.
While the writing and pacing were standouts, the strength of “Get Out” also lies in the casting. Daniel Kaluuya was near perfect as Chris, a young black photographer from the city, playing the role with the perfect mix of reserved coolness and painful vulnerability that you would find in someone who had survived a serious trauma. Allison Williams plays Rose, Chris’ cool, liberal girlfriend, to whom race seems like such a non-issue that she claimed that she neglected to even tell her parents that Chris was black. Milton “lil Rel” Howery plays the wise-cracking best friend Rod, advising Chris over the phone about how to approach Rose’s family. Lastly, Caleb Landry Jones plays Rose’s brother, Jeremy, an apathetic medical student bizarrely obsessed with judo and lacrosse.
“Get Out” is a film about duality. Due to his previous experience writing sketches, Peele knows how to write a piece aimed at a singular climax, where everything points to the same conclusion, and he did the same with his first feature film. After seeing the movie all the way through, the dialogue of the actors throughout takes on a more sinister, double-edged meaning in light of the ending; what seems like simple, tone deaf quips, become insidious when considering the final scene.