Jordan Peele, of the sketch-comedy series Key & Peele, makes his directorial debut with Get Out (Blumhouse Pictures). Peele tackles race, but this time without a punch line.
The horror film was screened, unanticipated, at Sundance only weeks ago. Get Out is about a young black man, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, Black Mirror), going to meet the parents of his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams, Girls). This typical familial interaction, bringing the boyfriend/girlfriend home to meet the folks, goes awry when Chris notices that the other black people in the town have gone missing or have passive, mechanical grins that are on the verge of short circuiting at any moment. One of the black men in the town tells Chris to “get out” but much like the reality of our current racial climate – there isn’t a foreseeable way out.
The trailer is riveting; with scenes of animal skulls and surrealistic shots it is hard to predict how the film would play out. Get Out is sure to fit the genre and Peele certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. The best comedy mirrors the best tragedy. Echoing throughout the latter half of the trailer is “the mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Peele most likely is advocating for the irrationality of racism and the basis of much of the professed alt-right’s philosophy. In taking American Horror Story’s Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy advice, “all monsters are human.”
To think that we are living in a post-racial era is as ignorant as thinking Brave New World is an apt portrayal of utopian equality. It’s like the film Guess Who but minus Bernie Mac, plus the realization that nightmarish racial tensions cannot be discussed in the past tense.
“This was really meant to take a stab at the liberal elite that tends to believe that they’re – we’re – above these things,” Peele told the audience at the Sundance premiere. This isn’t an issue of “there are racial tensions” or “there aren’t racial tensions,” the issue is that there IS tension and no one is exempt from facing it. Peele especially points to President Obama’s election as living in “a post-racial lie.”
Of course, Get Out won’t solve any of these extremely deep, complicated problems, but Peele would argue, at least he’s talking about it out in the open. A good film entertains, a great film makes you think – let’s see what Peele can do.
Get Out, in theaters February 24.