Jordan Peele‘s Get Out, which I saw in the Grove yesterday afternoon, deserves points for blending racial satire with a current of Stepford Wives-like horror, and particularly for the low-key restraint that Peele deals during the first 45 minutes or so.
But while I respect the audacity behind (as Armond White has pointed out) a mix of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and Meet The Fockers with B-level horror, I found what Peele is saying about Obama-era relationships between upscale blacks and whites to be easy and specious. Plus I was seriously disappointed by the standard-issue blood-and-brutality chops during the last half-hour, not to mention Peele’s complete indifference to logic and consequences at the final fade-out.
The critics who’ve gone hog-wild over the racial-anxiety-meets-horror concept have overplayed their hand. They’re singing praises from their own p.c. echo chamber partly because — wait for it — the director-writer and the good-looking, smooth-cat hero Chris (played by Daniel Kaluuya) are African-American, and because the 2017 Film Critic’s P.C. Handbook absolutely forbids dissing or even questioning any kind of subversive genre-bender of this type.
The truth is that Get Out starts well, slowly building on the intrigue and intimations of bad stuff to come, but it gradually devolves the more they horror elements take hold. It’s just not that clever or well thought-out.
SPOILER: Peele’s central idea is that good white liberals (i.e., the kind who “would’ve voted for Obama third time if we could have,” as Bradley Whitford‘s Dean Armitage, the father of Kaluuya’s girlfriend Rose, remarks early on) are liars — they’re just as racist as any rural Trump fan but with the ability to hide behind a facade of gracious, laid-back behavior. Moreover, their goal is to de-ball blacks who mix them with them socially and politically, and so blacks who ingratiate themselves with allegedly enlightened whites are being hoodwinked and led astray.
Peele isn’t exactly expressing a philosophy of black separatism, but he’s obviously saying “watch out for upscale whiteys…they ain’t on our team.” All of Get Out‘s horror and mayhem stems from this basic viewpoint. (more…)