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OkayMuva: Going In On Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’

OkayMuva: Going In On Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’

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Artwork Courtesy: Jayy Dodd for Okayplayer

Watch Jordan Peele Swap Comedy For Horror In New 'Get Out' Trailer

Again, I asked myself, what is the purpose of this film?

When I engage it as a film entirely devoted to black people, it fails. In a lot of ways, the character of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is still amazingly underdeveloped. Simply showing a terrified black man or a man haunted by his past does not give him humanity or story.

There are still unanswered questions that this film left in my black political imagination, such as: Is his love of whiteness so deep that he decided to reject his intuition and wisdom around the dangers of white supremacy? Was his cognitive dissonance around the real dangers of white violence and ignorance—that he surely experienced in his life—so strong that as more evidence mounted that he was in danger, he couldn’t see? Was his love for whiteness so deep that he was willing to reject logic because of his love of a white woman he was in a relationship with for five months? What birthed this meal landscape of a character that obviously knows the dangers of white supremacy, but still wishes to participate in it, even as more and more signs materialize that confirm he is in danger?

I understand there needs to be a sizable amount of curiosity and ignorance around a horror film victim, but the space the character existed in, to arrive at this level of curiosity and ignorance was never addressed. Because, intellectually and socio-politically, the character wasn’t well-formed. I was left feeling that I just viewed stylized trauma and fear that I’ll be sure I’ll be witnessing again on my social media feed in real life, in real time extremely soon. A chilling and interesting idea I would have appreciated as a black viewer, is if this content was made to horrify me and disrupt my imagination, would be to pose a contrast between black people that needed this hypnosis / surgery in order to be vehicles of white supremacy and black people that have already shrunk their true selves to better fit in white supremacy, and wouldn’t need such a procedure. This is a unique space that could have made the film live up to its political and intellectual ambitions where it decided to get intellectually and politically lazy. The world that this film exists in never feels solid to me. Even fantasy has the duty to have a well thought out plane. Is Get Out set in a white supremacist fantasy land or in a post-racist society fantasy land where events like this are shocking?

Again, I asked myself, what is the purpose of this film?

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If this film was designed to disrupt white people that practice a liberal brand of white supremacy, it fails. In making the white girlfriend complicit with the terror by her being in on it all along, it gives up the opportunity to name something even more terrifying: the fact of how many liberal white people lure black people into incredibly dangerous and violent places. The idea that the girlfriend had no idea that her parents were these white supremacist terrorists and that these people she grew up around were shells of souls would name a more horrific idea that could have haunted me after the movie was over. I believe that would have been a more powerful device to disrupt the imaginations of white folks that practice liberal white supremacy.

However, once it is revealed that the girlfriend is complicit in the terrorization, it makes the film become an extreme mockery that white people can locate outside of themselves and never do any type of real, political survey of themselves and their practices and ideas.

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