Jordan Peele

time-100-2017-jordan-peele Photograph by Elizabeth Weinberg—Redux 

Of The Exorcist, James Baldwin once wrote, "I was most concerned with the audience. I wondered what they were seeing, and what it meant to them." Sitting in a crowded theater, I wonder the same as I take in Jordan Peele's astonishing Get Out. In the shifting laughter lacing the room, at once rancorous, nervous, defensive and, yes, knowing, a cinema maxim is turned on its head—rather than presenting us a mirror, this multi-hyphenate auteurist shows us more of ourselves than we ever wanted to see, a window through which America is left no choice but to recognize the purgatory of her own sunken place.

This isn't new for Jordan. Alongside Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele, he's used comedy to shed light on the murky detritus of American exceptionalism for years. With the success of Get Out, it's clear he'll do so for many more.

TIME 100

And while I won't quote Baldwin again, of this I'm sure: he would have loved this film. As well as its maker. As the audience tenses around me, Baldwin's dictum rings true: ­Jordan Peele is America. And she is him.

Jenkins wrote and directed the Oscar-winning film Moonlight

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