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Get Out

They say that the world is only black and white, no shades of gray, and this statement holds true for Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.” The film opens up with an unidentified African American male walking down an isolated suburban street, he appears to be getting directions on the phone from someone but stops when he notices a white car following him. He turns around and before he knows it, he is strangled and kidnapped. Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) a young budding African-American photographer, finds himself literally addressing life in black and white, when he and his Caucasian girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) visit her family’s isolated estate for the weekend.

Chris a city guy, is used to the implications that come with interracial relationships, but is not sure Rose’s suburban family will be as accepting. However, Rose assures Chris that despite her dad’s tendency to speak about Obama running for a third term, he will be more than open to accept their relationship. Chris agrees to accompany Rose to her parents’ home for the weekend and the fun really begins. Peele intrigues his audience as he uses Chris and Rose to navigate through the biases of our society with comedy and horror.

Chris and Rose’s trip get off to a rocky start when they hit a deer while driving. Something compels Chris to go to the dead deer’s body and stare at it. The audience can almost smell the foreshadowing of something cynical to come. As rose and Chris get to her parents’ home her mother Missy Armitage (Catherine Keener) and father Dean Armitage (Bradley Whitford) greet them with wide open arms. Chris’s blackness seems not to phase them one bit. As the Armitage’s reveal more and more about themselves, Chris learns that Missy is a psychiatrist who specializes in “fixing” her patients with hypnosis. Dean goes on to reveal that he is a neurosurgeon, and then brag about how Missy’s hypnosis cleansed him of a smoking addiction he used to have. Chris, a smoker battling his urges politely declines Dean’s suggestion that Missy put him under hypnosis, but he keeps it in the back of his mind.

Peele created the film, in a way that the audience is Chris. We know what he is thinking although he hasn’t said it out loud, we can feel his emotions and internalize his bewilderment because at some time in our lives we were in an awkward situation such as Chris. Whether the viewer is black or white really doesn’t matter, because no matter what color you are we have all been in a situation where we knew something wasn’t right, but we couldn’t quite put our fingers on it.

As Chris navigates the family’s property he speaks to Walter (Marcus Henderson) the African American groundskeeper. Chris is comfortable talking to a person whom he feels is just like himself, but he is in for a puzzling realization when Walter acts strange and robotic in their conversation. Although Walter is acting rather strange the things he says stick with Chris and help him resurface memories that he was unsure actually existed. Chris goes on to tell Rose about his strange encounter with Walter but she laughs it off and assures Chris he has nothing to be worried about.

After Chris finds himself in Missy’s office revealing painful memories from the past he finds out that her hypnosis is more of an intrusive illusion of the mind. Missy’s character is like the government. We tell them information because they require it, but they don’t need us to tell them, because they already know everything about us. Missy already knew about Chris’s past but required him to tell her so that she could gain full insight as to what pushed his buttons.

Peele drives his viewers on a bridge between insanity and reality as we battle to understand what really happened to the man kidnapped in the beginning and what will become of Chris in this twilight zone suburbia.