Film Review: Get Out

I’ve watched it, Ben from down the street’s watched it, and Ben’s mother’s cat’s watched it too. So if you haven’t, well, you should. Winner of Oscar’s Best Original Screenplay 2017, Get Out, is a bold and uncomfortable statement on racism faced by African Americans. Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) goes on a weekend trip to a small town to meet the parents of his girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). Chris comes into the weekend looking for a seat in the Armitage family, only to be bolted down and forced to open his eyes to the ugly truth of their dealings in the Black market.

Jordan Peele, director of Get Out, is the first African-American to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Peele was also a nominee of Best Picture and Best Director. Get Out, though categorised by the Golden Globes as a comedy-thriller, is a social-thriller. “What the movie is about is not funny, I’ve had many Black people come up to me and say, ‘Man, this is the movie we’ve been talking about for a while and you did it.’ That’s a very powerful thing. For that to be put in a smaller box than it deserves is where the controversy comes from,” Peele told Vanity Fair. There were solid jokes in the movie, but humour was a tool to create casual conversation between the characters. It is a bridge between thriller and reality.

Daniel Kaluuya portrayed Chris Washington’s complex transitions of emotion with such authenticity he became a representative of the Black community. In March 2018, Kaluuya was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars. Kaluuya’s depth of connection to his character evoked relatability from viewers, coloured or not. Watching Get Out, as Jordan Peele said to The Atlantic, is asking “a white person to see the world through the eyes of a black person for an hour and a half”. Kaluuya’s acting was paired perfectly with music by Michael Abels. Peele hired Abels to compose music aligned to Washington’s point of view. From that, Get Out became a hypnotising visual experience. Get Out took me on an immersive journey from innocence and confusion to panic and absolute disbelief.

Get Out is a blend of past notions intersecting with the present world. Peele’s musical vision merges the classic horror film genre and contemporary music, which produces an integration of the past in the present. The moment Rose and Chris step inside the house, there was an immediate musical periodical backslide. Peele also specifically requested Abels to compose a piece utilising African-American voices to foreshadow Chris’ danger ahead and connection to history. The opening song “Skiliza Kwa Wahenga” comprised of whispered Swahili phrases, such as ‘run’, ‘listen to the truth’ and ‘save yourself’, stimulating an unsettling feeling.

Get Out is not a comfortable film. It’s disturbing, complex and ruthlessly honest. I left feeling confused, relieved, frustrated and detached from all rationality. Watching Get Out is like going into a deep sleep and in the darkness, opening your eyes to the truth screaming beneath the perceived shallow waters of today.

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