(SL) – Brandon Harris of the New Yorker reports, Peele spent many years trying to get financing for the movie, after conceiving of the picture during the 2008 Democratic Presidential primaries, a campaign that seemingly put racial progress and feminism at odds.
“It was almost like this who’s-suffered-long-enough kind of thing.” Peele quipped, in conversation with the film reporter Logan Hill, following the film’s Brooklyn première, when asked to explain finding inspiration in the contest between Clinton and Obama. “It was a very weird time, but it made me think, Yeah, we have different civil rights, which ones are more deserving?”
The intervening years, ones in which the ascension of a mixed-race President emboldened hopes, quickly dashed, that color would no longer be such a crucible in American life, have confirmed one of many underlying tensions within Peele’s film.
America may have, as recently as 2008, claimed to be through with race as a country, but by 2016, race was clearly not through with us. “We were past race, guys, what happened?” Peele said jokingly to the audience, his humor deadly serious. “Race caught up.”
The film critiques the insidious racism that lurks just beneath a veneer of white liberal do-gooderism by telling the story of a young black photographer named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), who anxiously visits the suburban family home of his Caucasian girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams).
Her parents, a doctor (Bradley Whitford) who confides he “would have voted for Obama a third time if [he] could” and a hypnotist (Catherine Keener), are friendly to a fault, but something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
It isn’t long after Rose’s brother, an M.M.A. enthusiast (Caleb Landry Jones), returns home during Chris’s visit that “Get Out,” which opens with a black man (Lakeith Stanfield) being choked unconscious and stuffed into a car on a suburban street by a masked assailant, makes plain its terrifying premise: the Armitage family serially kidnaps and brainwashes African-Americans into servility, ostensibly for their own good.
“The real thing at hand here is slavery,” Peele remarked as he first began to take questions from the audience. “Not to bring down the room, guys. It’s some dark shit.” And indeed, sex slavery, and the fear of it, are a very present spectre in the movie.