In this weekly special called ‘Sequence of note’, we look at some of the most defining moments of cinema. We attempt to break it down to its bare bones and reveal what makes it so special and unique to the film in question. In our first edition of the series, we take a look at one such sequence from the Jordan Peele directorial Get Out.
A lot goes on in Jordan Peele’s horror-comedy Get Out. It is not just any horror, it is horror of a socio-political nature. The film manages to talk about serious issues and still remains ever so accessible all the time.
However, one sequence from Get Out that managed to give me goosebumps was the conversation between Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris and Betty Gabriel’s Georgina, which ends up taking a bizarre turn.
Georgina, one of the helpers at Chris’ girlfriend’s place, is trying to explain to Chris why she touched his belongings without asking. Chris cuts off her apology midway, stating that no harm was done and that Georgina doesn’t need to ask for forgiveness. However, despite this, Georgina continues and things quickly take a strange turn.
The sequence is a testament to some great writing, direction, editing as well as performance. The classic close-ups of both the characters, the zooming in on Georgina’s all-too-polite face which betrays nothing but still manages to evoke a sense of discomfort in the viewer – everything is in perfect sync.
Georgina is courteous, but cold. She seems distant, despite being in such close proximity to Chris. She is explaining a simple thing but her tone hints at an impending doom. Despite claiming to be a mere worker, her stance and poise exudes other-worldly, almost inhuman and robot-like confidence.
The focus on Chris is limited but we can see that he is unsettled by what is happening. He jerks his head back when he realises Georgina has begun to cry. And then she proceeds to say, “No, no, no, no…” in that ominous tone. And now she is laughing and crying. This single act nearly tells you everything that you need to know about the film. That Georgina is unhinged or is under someone’s influence, that Chris is in danger, and last but not the least, his girlfriend is in all likelihood carrying a dangerous secret inside her.
A lot is said in a matter of just two minutes with little dialogue. And what is cinema but the very definition of ‘showing, not telling’?