analyzing the film

Make sure in your discussion that you stay focused on analyzing the film, so when you make a point, use specific examples from the film to illustrate it. And don’t forget to end with a discussion question of your own!

From this week, you are not required to systematically go through and answer every single question. That is, you can select some of them to answer. 500-700 words in length.

Discussion questions:

1. Note where, in relation to where the camera is looking, surprising action comes from. How do the filmmakers make use of camera angles to create suspense and surprise? Much of this is established in the opening scene. Take apart that scene in detail. How does it establish the tone of the film?

2. Many scary movies are based on some degree of mystery. In what ways does this film use foreshadowing to create the mystery? When and how does it use flashback to help the viewer piece together the clues?

3. Sound and music are also highly important to this film. What are the audio clues that help raise the tension in certain scenes? Are there any audio motifs – sounds used repeatedly to the same and a cumulative effect? Music is used somewhat differently, and sometimes creates irony or dissonance. Note the use of the old song “Run Rabbit Run” during the opening scene. How does the music work in that scene?

4. This film is often suggesting conflicts between different worlds, most obviously between the white and black experience. How is this difference, this tension, suggested in the opening credits?

5. How is law enforcement portrayed throughout this film? Why might this be important? How are the scenes of Chris and Rose interacting with the cop after they hit the deer and Rod attempting to report a crime similar and different?

6. It is almost too obvious to say that this film uses race as a primary theme. But, what are the many different ways that racial attitudes and roles and experiences examined? In what ways do members of the Armitage family attempt to show themselves as “woke”? Do they make comments or argue points you have heard before? What is the ultimate effect of this “woke-ness” being a cover for horrific crimes? How do black characters in the film talk about whiteness? What is the effect or potential meaning of the central action being attributed to the work of “our order” as opposed to a an individual’s or a family’s crime? Near the end of the film, we see Rose sitting on her bed listening to music as Chris is making his escape. In what ways can that scene be seen as satirical?

7. What is the genre of this film? Is it a horror film, a mystery/thriller, or something else? And why do you say that? The film was famously nominated for a Golden Globe in the “Musical or Comedy” category, was marketed as “satirical horror,” and was called, jokingly, a “documentary” by Jordan Peele. Would your answer be different had Peele chosen one of the alternative endings (Links to an external site.) he was considering?

 
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