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Get Out, the new horror/thriller from writer/director Jordan Peele (you know him, he’s the half of the duo of Key and Peele who doesn’t get the Emmy nomination for acting), has a rather interesting and new take on race relations.
In this film in which black characters are tricked by a whiter than white upper middle class princess to come to the country to meet the folks, the princess’ father tells our hero Chris Washington that for some reason, possibly genetic, but he and none of his cohorts know why really, the black race is surpassing and often has surpassed the white race.
So what choice does the superior white race have if they want to survive?
Pull a Stepford Wives/Invasion of the Body Snatchers and take over the bodies of various blacks that have the abilities and characteristics the white person needs (mainly youth and strength of some sort, but for Chris it’s his artistic eye as a photographer).
So what we have is a horror film in which whites, realizing they are no longer the master race and are losing the battle, decide to become black.
Ain’t that a kicker.
In some ways, this is nothing new. There has always been an undercurrent in racial relations that whites are keeping blacks down not because they feel that blacks are inferior, but because they are terrified that blacks are really superior (thus such phenomenon as the festishising how large the black male’s pens is in comparison to the white male).
But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it dramatized quite like this.
And it’s all happening on the cusp of post-race America, where whites are willing to do this even though police still stop African Americans for driving while black and no one really cares what is happening when a series of young black men go missing without any explanation.
Get Out is clever and edge of your seat, sometimes annoyingly so. There’s never a moment where you don’t feel there is something just wrong about a situation even if you can’t quite figure out what it is. You know everyone is being overly sincere and talking out of the side of their mouths, but hell if you can figure out why.
There is some hesitation on my part about the first half or so where the acting and dialog may feel a bit too on the nose and calling attention to itself.
But the plot is very clever and well-structured and works itself out with great satisfaction.
In keeping with current American movie tradition, Chris is played by an actor from England, Daniel Kaluuya. He seems about as American as you can get and he’s quite solid in the role.
The rest of the cast are locally grown actors including Allison Williams of Girls as the princess; Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener as her parents; Stephen Root as the one who wants to see through Chris’ eyes; and for comic relief, Lil Roy Howery very funny as Chris’ beat friend who might want us to think twice about TSA agents.
In You’re Killing Me, Susana, a demi-farce written by Luis Camera and the director Roberto Sneider from a novel by José Augustin, Eligio, a popular actor on a telenovela (though he’d rather be doing theater) has a habit of cheating on his wife. When he comes home one day and finds that his wife, the titular Susana, has left without warning or letting him know where she has gone to, he freaks out not believing that he could possibly be the cause.
I mean, women don’t leave just because their man treats them like shit. After all, that’s what makes them love them in the first place, isn’t it?
He does track her down to an Iowan writer’s workshop and there he tries to win her back even though she has taken up with a Polish poet.
Eligio is played by the charismatic Gael Garcia Bernal and for a while it’s a lot of fun seeing him stew in his own juices, driving himself up the wall trying to find his wife and then being aghast that she would choose someone else over him (the only explanation has to be that he has a bigger pens).
But then the movie takes an ugly turn as Eligio gets violent, not just against his wife, but against his rival. Even that isn’t necessarily the wrong turn, it’s that Susana keeps coming back to him no matter how violent he acts. It’s hard to believe that in the 20th century a story would actually not just portray a woman this way, but agree she’s right to do so.
The two eventually separate and it looks like Eligio has learned his lesson. But the filmmakers haven’t. In one of the more misogynistic endings in recent memories, Susana not just comes back to Eligio, but begs him to take her back when Eligio proves reluctant.
With Veronica Echegui as Susana.
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