Tuesday, 18 April 2017
We Don't Go Back #44a: Get Out (2017)
You should take the opportunity to see it.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is in love with Rose (Alison Williams). Chris is black, Rose is white. Rose takes him to see her affluent parents (Bradley Whitford and indie film queen Catherine Keener) out in the suburbs. Which is sort of the plot of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, except it's really not.
What is in store for Chris? I can't say, of course I can't, but there's something of the pagan village conspiracy at play, something more pagan than it might seem – there's one scene, just a few seconds long, at the start of the third act, that tips the film over the edge into full folk horror in terms of tropes, but the true folk horror lies in its uniquely American idiom.
And there's a lot of these moments where you see him sigh and just let it run off his back like water over the proverbial duck, and you realise that he's had to put up with this shit a million times before, these little slights that just come from ignorance and unrecognised prejudice, but he makes a conscious decision to let it slide, until the line between socially awkward and creepy as hell has been crossed too many times for it to be something he can take. By then, it's too late.
But then it always was.
The film works because some of that social awkwardness has been experienced by real people; when Chris is asked what his parents do by people who don't realise that if you come from a certain place there are questions people don't ask, I cringed all the more because that's happened to me. Of course, though, for much of the film the discomfort (for someone who isn't black and from a "difficult" background) comes from realising that you might have done that to someone like Chris, that you might have objectified someone like that. Or made assumptions. Or assumed kinship. Or tried to make a connection in an insulting, patronising way. I suppose the film stands as a corrective. It says, shut up, shut up and listen.
Get Out is the sort of film where things dawn on you just a little bit before they're spelled out on the screen, but still too late, which makes it Good Horror. It's well paced and has some really effective jumps and genuinely creepy bits. It's funny, too, without ever ceasing to have this real anger at its core. By the end of the film, you find yourself expecting certain results from events, and Get Out excels in both fulfilling those expectations and thwarting them just enough that you don't know right up until the final shot how it's going to turn out.
Go see it. See it. It is that good.