Podcast

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Rulebook Casefile: Know More Than You Show in “Get Out”

The biggest difference between the script and finished film of Get Out is the opening scene. The scene is shorter and more unclear in the final film. I suspect it was actually darkened in the editing room. In both my viewings, I didn’t notice that the kidnapper who drags the guy into the car is wearing a knight’s helmet! It’s just too unclear to really make out.

(Also, because the scene is dark and brief, I didn’t notice that the guy who gets kidnapped is the same guy we meet at the party later. If I had been more familiar with the actor LaKeith Stanfield at the time, I probably would have recognized him both times, and it would have given me a lot more information while I watched, which would not necessarily have improved my viewing experience, but it’s hard to know. In his commentary, Peele admits that he was deliberately playing with a white audience’s inability to be sure if they’re looking at the same black guy or not)

We don’t get a good look at the helmet until Chris is escaping from the house at the end and finds it on the passenger seat of Jeremy’s car. At that point, if we don’t recognize it from before, it’s just a humorously odd detail that gets a quick laugh in the middle of a chaotic action scene: These people are nuts! (If we do recognize it, we realize that Rose has been carefully seducing black guys but Jeremy has just been putting on a helmet and grabbing them from the street)
But then look at the posters for the movie: There’s the helmet! As with the deer in the trailer, Blumhouse was looking for unique imagery, and found the movie lacking, so they latched onto this odd detail to help them with the marketing.

So what’s the deal with the helmet? Is it an important part of the movie, or just a gag? It’s only once you listen to the commentary that you realize that the helmet is the key to a whole thing! Some snippets:

  • During the kidnapping: “Jeremy is wearing a Templar helmet. I’ve got a whole mythology and lore. The operation is a way of channeling the Holy Grail’s original power of immortality.”
  • During the silent auction for Chris’s body: “What are the numbers? Are they millions of dollars? Billions of dollars? In my lore, the Knight Templar trade amongst each other relics and artifacts.”
  • During the video: “I know the entire history of this secret society and it goes deep, but you only get little pieces. On another DVD I’ll take you through the history of the Red Alchemist society.”

This brings us back to another old rule: Know more than you show. That backstory is ludicrous! Thankfully, none of this made it into the movie. As with Us, it’s better if you don’t think about it that much. It’s good that Peele is thinking about it, but he knows better than to share it, unless you listen to the commentary (and even then, he spares us that second commentary.)

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