Get Out: Guest Review by Sean E. Ali

My good friend and collaborator Sean E. Ali has finally gotten around to seeing the one movie that apparently everybody and their mother has seen and loved this year: GET OUT. And as usual, his thoughts about the movie are thoughtful, insightful and as on point as Simone Biles sticking the landing after dismounting from a balance beam. And as usual he posted them on Facebook. And as usual I went ahead and re-posted his post here as what he has to say is too good not to be preserved for others to read. So without further delay, I turn the floor over to Mr. Ali…

So I finally got around to seeing Jordan Peele’s GET OUT

The image with this?

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Yeah, that was me too, folks.

In fact that’s STILL me because I’m wondering if the Sunken Place is a reflection of American society, with regards to race, as it is a state of mind. I left the theater and went to the store and it was hard to shake the impression GET OUT had made in the short time it rolled out.

Really, I kept looking around, feeling like I was being watched.

I even turned on the flash on my phone.

I’ve heard this film described as a horror film, a horror action comedy, a mystery thriller comedy, a suspense thriller, a compelling statement on race and racism…

…more than a few conservative white bloggers went down the usual path of the film being racist or reverse racism – with emphasis on the way the final act of the film plays out and (of course) how the way it plays is just another example of the black revenge sentiment on white people… blah, blah, blah, Obama, blah, PC culture, blah, blah…

That segment of criticism being complete and total bullshit.

If you leave GET OUT thinking it’s racist against white people, you are, in my humble opinion, the stupidest individual God ever allowed to be born and please, for the love of that same God – do not breed.

Honestly, Earth has enough dumb people with no direction and scads of free time.

Just check your brain at the door and pick up your crayons while I get back to this.

So the film opens with an unidentified black man apparently lost in the middle of a very suburban neighborhood. He’s looking for a particular house to hook up with some people, but as the scene plays out he never gets to his destination. The manner of his detour is honestly something black comedians have joked about forever, it’s possibly one of those nagging thoughts anyone gets in an unfamiliar spot that falls under the “what if?” category of things you hope never happen to you far from home.

We go to the title credits and get dropped into a back and forth set of lead up scenes: a young, attractive white woman having a hard time choosing a donut and a dark skinned black man shaving like he’s about to go on a date. A couple more beats in, the black man becomes Chris, a photographer with a good eye to judge from the images and the white woman becomes Rose, his girlfriend who’s about to introduce him to the folks which means a road trip to a secluded house near a lake in the middle of nowhere…

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It’ll probably be the longest trip of Chris’s life…

…if he survives it.

Now I’m probably one of the last folks to see this film. Horror’s not my thing as a genre and even with the surface racism and the deeper examination of disposability of black lives in general and black men in particular – a very real and current situation that has been more prevalent in recent years than ever, the less discussed in the open subject of genetics and how perceptions of natural ability can be envied and coveted by those who are gifted differently, stereotyping and tone deaf “white ally” progressives who are sometimes far more ignorant than the bigots they criticize, and possibly the ultimate application of racial appropriation that I’m ever going to see for some time – this film was not calling me because even with all that, it still fell in the “horror” line.

So what got me in the seat today?

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Folks who saw the film discussed it with the aspects mentioned above as a major part of their conversations. The movie itself is quick and to the point. It sets up the situation, tosses us into odd, layered with strange, layered with discomfort, layered with something sinister and disturbing. It’s pretty predictable in spots, you figure out pretty quickly where Chris stands in relation to the other players in this one, and even how he manages to get a shot at getting out of his situation if he’s lucky. I will spoil it a little by saying there are no really redeemable or sympathetic white characters who will be saving the day…

…and that’s seen as well as unseen when I think about it…

It’s Chris’s show practically from start to finish.

After going through it, I graded it more as a sci-fi thriller in a TWILIGHT ZONE meets OUTER LIMITS with a nod to Blaxploitation horror flicks from the 70s. Rod Serling would’ve written this in another time be place. If you don’t believe me, see the TWILIGHT ZONE episode “The Encounter” which features George Takei as a Japanese American gardener who has to deal with a prospective client who is a bitter, bigoted veteran from World War II grappling with the way the world is changing as the civil rights movement was starting to get underway and the Japanese were proving to be pretty adept at miniaturizing electronics. The story Serling wrote then was equally frank in its observations and wasn’t broadcast for over a quarter century because white viewers at the time were horrified that they could be presented so harshly.

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Let’s take a moment to remind folks that Serling was a successful white guy who was acclaimed as a television screenplay writer as well as playwright, so you know folks were upset to not air that one again…

…but then race wouldn’t have been the excuse, it would’ve been Serling’s liberal bent to blame…

But the film itself isn’t anything you haven’t seen before in THE STEPFORD WIVES or INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS with the exception of the villains of the piece not being some fantasy threat, but an exaggerated satire on one ethnic group usually deferred to as greater being as brutal and selfish as any “thug” in execution of their goals…

…but they smile in your face the whole time they’re trying to kill you.

So, if you haven’t gone to see GET OUT, should you?

Oh yes, absolutely…

…and if you’re still bugged at the end by the way white people are portrayed. If you think that it’s unfair and not terribly sensitive…

…welcome to my world.

The Sunken Place is everywhere when you think about it.

Still I think you’ll enjoy it nonetheless.

jordan-peele-master

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