When Jordan Peele (yes, one half of the Key & Peele duo) set out to make his directorial debut, he knew of his goal. Although no one knew it before the release of Get Out, his goal was to bring an awareness to racial issues that seemed to have been recently neglected in a very controversial state of time. Peele wanted to raise awareness for the fact that racism against African-Americans is still alive in the United States.
It has been over fifty years since Martin Luther King Junior died, yet there are still many racial injustices. It is a fact that many blacks do not receive fair and equal treatment, and Peel wanted to use his main character to display this through a horror scenario.
It began with the main character Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya. Chris was dating a white girl named Rose, and she decided to take him up to her house for a long weekend. After dating for four months, he insisted on meeting her parents, despite the fact that she “warned” him of their sensitivity to races besides their own. The warning Rose gave Chris began the entire message of inequality. She is presented with a false anti-racist attitude that is seen in many people’s acts today. The world has seen figures such as political leaders speak out against injustices, yet themselves participate in those very same injustices.
Chris took the trip to their house, and things seemed to be normal at first. They were a very friendly family, yet there was one thing that stuck out. They had several maids, all of whom were… African-American. Every single one was black, and every single maid had a strange aroma to their mannerism.
The family seemed to be normal, but the opposite was foreshadowed when a young black man was seen screaming at Chris to “get out”. This occurred after Chris took a picture of the man, and it seemed to wake him up from a strange, unknown trance.
On Chris’ first night in the home, he went out to smoke a cigarette. He was confronted by Rose’s mother, a psychologist and hypnotist. She warned Chris against smoking, and this is where the overhead idea of the movie really was pushed right in the audience’s face. Chris was put in a trance in the “sunken place”, a mental state where one is unable to move themselves. One is simply only able to reflect on their life and past actions, yet unable to do or say anything except cry about it.
This idea can be paralleled with the idea of racism in the world today. African-Americans have no problem noticing and seeing the awful judgments against them, yet society has placed a certain box over them. This box traps them. It filters a whole race of people, not allowing them to speak out and make a change. They are simply silenced. Peele set out to inform his viewers of this, and Chris was the absolutely perfect character for it.
People sympathized with Chris. He was charming, lovable, and an overall great guy. When he was seen crying on-screen with flashbacks of his mother dying, the audience felt a wrench in their heart. The perfect character was stuck, completely trapped.
Once released from this “sunken place”, he went outside and resumed his smoking. A fantastic jump scare, one of the black workers sprinted by him. This can be taken as a wake-up call. Why this man just went screaming by Chris was a question to be pondered, and it seemed to go screaming through the viewer’s head as well. It became obvious. There was something going on involving the strange black maids, and it was not good.
The following day, there was a massive party hosted at the house. Chris and Rose went for a walk, but the twist was that one of them didn’t have the slightest clue that a literal silent slave auction was going on back at the house. The horrifying part of this is the fact that every bidder was an old white person. They were buying these African-Americans for their bodies, for their athletic and physical abilities. This was another one of Peele’s ways to present his message.
Peele was showing how many professional industries abuse black people. Black people are commonly mistreated and simply used for one’s own success, whether it be in sports, music, or entertainment.
It was later revealed that these older whites were to undergo surgery, replacing the slave’s brain with their own. They had the ability to control the slave’s body, and every auctioned slave was an athletic black male. A massively creepy aspect of this was when Chris, when trying to escape the house, found a book of pictures in his guest room. These pictures were of dozens of black males Rose also put through the same treatment, the same fake “relationship”. These men had all lost control of their bodies, and all had been used and mistreated. The key point of this was that additionally all of these men were stuck in their own sunken place, unable to think for themselves.
Jordan Peele ended Get Out in a perfectly imperfect way. Without too many spoilers, Chris was unable to kill most of the psycho family and get out of the house. As he walked outside, the oldest maid cried for help after she attacked him. Following a flashback to his own mother, Chris unwillingly yet willingly picked her up and brought her to the car as he tried to drive away. Forgetting that these people were under control of somebody else, the maid attacked Chris as the pair drove into a tree. She quickly died, but he still had to escape. Chris thought his escape was complete, but his old “girlfriend” wasn’t done yet.
The man who had raced by him earlier ran and tackled Chris, with intent to kill him. In a state of panic, Chris remembered that a flash could wake their real minds up. Taking out his phone, a picture was snapped and the man awoke to his old self. Rose gave instructions to kill Chris, but the no-longer trapped man still found it necessary to end his pain. He shot himself, leading to a battle between Chris and Rose. Chris won, and killed her.
This was Peele’s way of instructing the African-American race to fight back. This ending was a signal to make a difference, to simply refuse to be neglected, and to stay aware of what is happening racially and socially.
Soon after this, a police officer arrived on scene. Immediately, the worst was feared. Something that is seen all too often in society is racial profiling from police, and in this situation it seemed Chris was going to be blamed for the deaths. This was one final reminder from Peele that there is an issue in this country that needs to be addressed. The ending scene was put here to anger the audience, to inspire them to speak up for wrongdoings against blacks. Luckily, it was Chris’ friend that had been searching for him in his absence. He had already figured out what happened through a series of missing persons reports from the same area, and Chris was presumably not charged for anything.
Peele gave this movie the perfect ending, as it both appeased and set a charge in the viewer to wake up. The use of a black main character in a horror film was the ideal way to relay his message, and it certainly worked. It struck fear, angst, and anger in the audience with a very deep meaning. The film was met with extremely high critical acclaim, but this wasn’t its purpose. Its purpose is obvious, but the world still has yet to change. Hopefully in time Peele will be able to say that he made a difference, and hopefully this movie will be the last of its kind in the sense that this battle against racism will eventually be over.