Kaiter Reviews: Get Out

[spoilers – though pretty much everything related to the narrative of the film is revealed in the trailer so if you’ve seen it you might as well keep reading]

Get Out, the directorial debut of famed American comedian, Jordan Peele, is a peculiar film worth discussing due to the hackles it has raised across the political and ideological spectrum. Despite the somewhat controversial subject matter (race is the primary topic of the film) the film has netted near universal mainstream praise. Common Sense Media ranks the film as a 4 out of 5, IMDB similarly champions the flick rating it as a 8.1 out of 10, similarly, RogerEbert.com awarded the film a 3 out of 4 – though the most glowing reviews I’ve seen have come from the film review aggregation website, Rotten Tomatoes who gave Get Out a 99% approval rating. The most head-scratching praise for the film, however, comes from Dame Magazine’s Carol H. Hood who writes, after a lengthy extolation of Get Out’s virtues, “Go ahead and call Peele’s movie, ‘Anti-white,’ frankly it is.” She goes on to explain why this is a good thing because the anti-white message of the film isn’t of the genocidal variety… well, alrighty then…

Daniel Kaluuya as Get Out’s tormented black hero, Chris Washington.

However, a handful of critics have expressed less-than-sanguine opinions about the purported “anti-whiteness” of the film, such as conservative political commentator Debbie Schlussel (some of you might remember Ms. Schlussel from her recent spate with Fox New’s Sean Hannity – she was also a FOX contributor) who stated that the film, though well made, contained demeaning BLM propaganda. VDARE described the film as, a remarkably racist kill-the-white-people horror movie that makes Django Unchained seem like My Dinner With Andre.” Taki Mag concurs, writing of the piece, “Get Out or Get Your Money Back?”

So the two questions that then need to be answered are: Is Get Out anti-white? & Is it a good film? Before we get to that, however, let us dive into the story of the film itself. The movie begins with a young black man walking down a abandoned street in a upperclass white neighborhood. He’s lost, calls his girl for directions, finds them wanting and then hangs up and mutters to himself about the confusing names of the streets. A car idles up to the side walk beside him. He freaks out and begins crossing the street at which point a man wearing a iron helm chokes him out from behind and stuffs him into the back of the car and then drives off into the distance as ominous music drones and the film’s title creeps across the screen.

Next, we cut to a young couple, both good looking trendies with punny names, Chris Washington (quite patriotic, no?) and Rose Armitage (every rose has its thorn – that’ll be important later) respectively. We find out after a passionate kiss that they are lovers who are heading off to visit Rose’s family (who are almost as rich as they are hu-white). On the drive to the secluded Armitage estate the couple hit a deer, killing it which seems to send Chris into a momentary lapse of motor function and horror that is never really explained. They call the police (for some reason) and are berated by the officer (a white guy, naturally) who demands to see Chris’ license despite the fact that he wasn’t driving and clearly wasn’t doing anything that would warrant identification. Rose is outraged and accuses the officer of racism. The cop blanches and departs as our heroes shoot each other affectionate “that-showed-him grins.”

When the couple finally arrives at Muskrat Farm – er, I mean, the Armitage Estate things get very strange very quickly. Rose’s parents, Missy (a hypnotist) and Dean (a seasoned traveler) seem normal enough and very nice, perchance a bit too nice. They quickly attempt to ingratiate themselves with Chris by acting down with the struggle – for instance Dean constantly utilizes faux-black lingo and tells him that he voted for Obama and would have voted to keep him in a third term if possible. So far things are awkward but reasonably so and then Chris notices that the groundskeepers (all of whom are black) act bizarrely – constantly smiling and seemingly unaware of any human norms of social interaction.

Then Jeremy arrives and things take a darker turn.

Jeremy Armitage, Rose’s brother, is a pale, gaunt man who seems to delight in providing advice to Chris about how he could be “a fucking beast” in the UFC if he trained due to his “genetics and build.” Unlike the housekeepers and the elder Armitages, Jeremy seems completely off his rocker from the moment he enters the frame, ever wild eyed, sadistically chortling and leaning uncomfortably close to Chris. At one point he wants to test Chris’ physical prowess and is about to put him in a head-lock only to be scolded by his parents at which point he declares with exhausted disgust, “I wasn’t going to hurt him.” It is a rather jarring shift of tone that breaks from the subtle nature of the rest of the first act of the film. The performance (though one of the best in the movie) is also rather over-the-top in comparison to the rest of the cast – Jeremy, who is played by Caleb Landry Jones, seems to be playing some strange amalgamation of every Michael Pitt villain ever put to the screen.

At any rate it comes to light that Chris is a smoker and that the Armitages (Rose included) highly disapprove of this practice. Missy then hypnotizes Chris at which point he hallucinates that he is falling through the floor into a watery pit of darkness, trapped in a soundless world called, “The Sunken Place.” This is clearly a meta-political reference to the collective societal status of Blacks in modern-day America, a motif which is repeated throughout the film.

Then basically nothing happens until a bunch of other families, who are friends of the Armitages (and all white), arrive. A party is thrown and Rose introduces Chris to the other families who all treat him with condescending praise, acting towards the colored newcomer as if he is more of a play-thing to them than a person. The various families also make constant deferential mentions about his “blackness,” saying things such as that Black is the hip and happening thing or that blacks are stronger and cooler – Chris is put-off and grows increasingly uncomfortable until he runs into the only new guest who isn’t a deplorably boring, liberal, white, upper-crust trendy. The other black fellow, a tall, thin vacant-eyed man named Logan, seems strangely familiar to Chris but he can’t understand why. He surreptitiously takes a photo of the man at which point Logan freezes, bleeds from his nose and howls the titular line, “Get out!” rushing Chris down and attempting to push him away. Logan is subdued and taken away at which point Dean Armitage explains that he was merely suffering from a seizure but Chris isn’t convinced – it was… something else. Our hero vents his concerns to his lover but Rose off-handedly dismisses his conspiracy theories stating that her father is a neurological expert. Even still, Chris determines to find out what is really going on.

Eventually he discovers pictures of Rose with numerous other black men – one of whom is the man who disappeared in the opening scene of the film and the other – Logan. I couldn’t help but think how ham-fisted yet amusing the name choice for her character was at this point (every rose has its thorn – bah-dum-tish!). At any rate, Chris, realizing he’s been betrayed in some fashion by his lover, attempts to escape the estate but the Armitages, including Rose, block him. Missy then incapacitates him with her magic spoon powers (I’m not kidding – she hypnotizes him instantly with a spoon) and then the sadistic Jeremy hauls him away.

Chris awakes, tied to a chair as the presumably dead patriarch of the Armitage family appears on a TV screen and begins to monologue. It turns out the Armitage’s have been crafting a special process that can allow them to transfer their brains into the heads of other human beings – allowing them a form of pseudo-immortality. When Chris asks why they have chosen exclusively black men he is told the same lines the visiting families told him, blacks are faster, stronger and cooler (though one of the villains explains he doesn’t give a damn what color Chris is, he just want his nice eyes).

Chris escapes before the procedure can take place and then single-handedly begins dealing out racial reprisal upon the Armitage family, easily killing Dean and Missy and bashing in Jeremy’s head with a cue-ball. However, Jeremy survives and they engage in a dramatic fight where the sadistic young man nearly throttles our melanated hero to death. But, as you might assume, he manages to throw Jeremy clear and then kill him by kicking his skull in. He then is pursued by his former lover, Rose, and her grandfather who transplanted his brain into the head of one of the black groundskeepers – Chris dispatches of them as well – and, well, that is pretty much it. The evil whites have been defeated and the black man freed. Roll credits.

So was the film anti-white or is this notion just another product of outrage culture? The answer is a definitive “Yes.” For the majority of the film Peele seems more interested in something we might describe as proper social-decorum rather than “evil whiteness.” However, the more the film progress the more anti-white it becomes. This isn’t interpretation or “just my opinion,” as evidenced by Rose admitting as much – after voicing her disgust at having to attend the big family get-together Chris remarks, “It can’t be that bad,” to which she replies, “They’re so… white.” Her sentiment might have worked just as well if one replaced “white” with “filthy.” Additionally, consider the fact that ALL of the white characters are sadistic evil subhumans and ALL of the black characters (with the exception of 4 minor characters who are barely in the film) are virtuous but horribly oppressed for explicitly racial reasons.

What most people who have voiced dissension in regards to the film seem to miss however is that the primary subject of the film’s criticisms seems to be West-Wing Liberals as opposed to the redneck, neo-nazis of something like the laughably propagandistic Imperium. This is, in my opinion, where the film really shines (and it is well made and acted), for despite the fact that Peele seems to take a fairly dour view of whites in America, he correctly identifies the bourgeoisie liberal as the primary propagator of racial condescension and divisiveness. The Armitage Family are the type of liberals who (where they not obsessed with immortality) when rebuked but a black man would look him dead in the eye and declare, “You are oppressed by whiteness you just don’t know it!” Therefore, I would highly recommend this film, both as a exercise in understanding the way that black liberals view race as well as a enlightening expos’e on progressive racial propaganda (which the film, frankly, is) as its spectacular popularity might well make it a powerful blueprint for the racially conscious, politically “progressive” and pro-black films of the immediate future.

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