7-13 July 2017 #866

Get Out

Get Out is an indictment of the underlying ugly racism prevalent in America, and in the rest of the world
Sophia Pande

While you may never have heard of Get Out, it is one of the craziest, scariest, funniest, and cleverest films of the year. A bizarre mixture of satire, flat out comedy, chilling horror, and biting social commentary, Get Out” made its debut at the fiercely competitive Sundance Film Festival in January this year and was promptly bought by Universal Pictures who saw its immense genre bending potential and released it the very next month. The film has grossed $251.8 million to date against a budget of $4.5 million making it a smash hit and perhaps a harbinger of the kind of films to come: well written, surprising, non-conformist and supremely uncaring of upsetting the status quo.

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out’s storyline is twisty, keeping you on edge till the end. Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) and Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) are a lovely young inter-racial couple who appear to be unfazed by the fact that they are about to visit Rose’s very white parents. Chris voices his slight nervousness which Rose immediately shoots down, firmly but playfully saying that her father would have voted for Obama a third time if he could have.

When the couple arrive at the stately family home, Rose’s parents, Dean and Missy Armitage, played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener, two of the indie greats, are nothing short of warm and wonderful, allaying Chris’s anxiety at first. Things quickly start to creep out of the seemingly perfect veneer though, starting with the extremely odd behaviour of the Armitage’s black household staff, who they apologise for immediately, seemingly mortified about how it might look to Chris.

Chris, disturbed by increasingly erratic, almost violent actions on the part of thegroundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson) and housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel) quickly realises that things are not what they seem but his fears are repeatedly allayed by the charming Rose whose ingenuous warmth keep him from fleeing the progressivelyfrightening house. When Chris is lured into Missy’s den (she is a psychiatrist) and hypnotised against his own will on the first night of their stay, we all begin to realise the horror and the horrid racism that is just beneath the surface of this seemingly loving family home.

Get Out is an indictment of the underlying ugly racism prevalent in America, and in the rest of the world, a problem that is ignored and denied just as other ubiquitous problems such assexism and rampant sexual harassment are casually discounted the world over; to acknowledge these grievous sins would be to look fully into the worst face of humanity. The reason why this film is so powerful is because it has so much warmth in the face of wicked dehumanisation personified by the incredible humour of Chris’s loyal friend Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery), the black man at the heart of the film who is not afraid to state things as they are in the face of adversity, leading to a final reckoning that can only come from immense courage.

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