Get Out is a fantastic film in isolation. But writer/director Jordan Peele has hidden a whole fascinating layer of meaning within.
Have you seen Get Out yet? If you answered anything other than ‘Yes’, stop what you’re doing and go to your local cinema right now. (Finish this article first please. Actually don’t, it has spoilers as fuck.)
First time director Jordan Peele (yes, from Key & Peele) has delivered a brilliantly crafted and very dark political satire. Through violence, shock and humour, Peele is able to provide a profound comment on the state of racism in a modern America.
Yet even if you thought it was brilliant after a first watching, there’s a strong chance you don’t have a full understanding and appreciation of the film (no offence). Get Out is layered with symbolism, intertextual references and metaphors: a world of depth that runs parallel and silently to the blatant movie. We’re here to illuminate that world.
1 – The Sunken Place.
As Mrs Armitage hypnotises Chris, she forces his mind into the depths of ‘The Sunken Place’. We watch the protagonist fall into the infinite abyss of bleak nothingness. Chris claws at the air, attempting to grab hold of anything that will bring him back into the real world, but it is hopeless. He is stuck in a terrifying no-man’s-land.
So what is the real meaning behind The Sunken Place? Jordan Peele gives this explanation:
“The Sunken Place means we’re marginalized. No matter how hard we scream, the system silences us.”
Clever, huh? Well this is just the beginning.
2 – Rose isn’t sticking up for Chris when the cop asks for his ID.
When the cop asks for Chris’ ID, Rose isn’t defending him as a stance against racism. She’s actually avoiding a paper trail. Had the cop run both their licenses, there would be a record that Chris and Rose were together before his eventual disappearance.
My mind is slowly getting blown.
3 – There’s a reason grounds keeper Walter is always running.
Early on in the film, we learn that Mr Armitage’s dad came second in the 1936 Olympics to the famous Jesse Owns. So Walter, who is really Dean’s father, is probably running because he never got over this loss. Creepy as fuck, I know.
4 – Why does Mrs Armitage use a tea cup and spoon for hypnosis?
This one trips me out. Are you ready for symbolism o’clock? Mrs Armitage is literally using a silver spoon – emblematic of white privilege – to control her subjects.
Is Jordan Peele God?
5 – Chris survives by filling his ears with cotton.
Near the end of the film, when Chris is tied to the chair being hypnotised repeatedly by the television, he plugs his ears with cotton from the chair’s armrest. So Chris saves himself by literally “picking cotton.”
Yet again, another subtle but now so clear reference to African-American slavery.
6 – “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
Not only is it cool that it is Jordan Peele who voices the “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”, heard in the trailer and on the hypnosis TV. This quote is actually the slogan for the United Negro College Fund, a charity dedicated to making college education more affordable for black students.
It has a twisted double meaning in the context of the film, as the Armitages preserve the minds of their clients in young and capable hosts, so as not to “waste” them. Again, kinda awesome, kinda fucking creepy.
7 – The mix up of black and white.