Us is directed by Jordan Peele and is his second film fresh off his smash hit ‘Get Out’. This is starring Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide, a woman that is haunted by a traumatic event from when she was a child. Her, along with her goofy and fun husband played by Winston Duke and their two kids are vacationing in Santa Cruz, but the vacation does not last long, when they are taken hostage by completely identical versions of themselves, identical in looks but very animal-like in their presence and energy dressed all in red. Adelaide will now have to literally come face to face with her fears in order to save her family and survive, in this horror-thriller, Jordan Peele delivers his best work yet, and is sure to get audiences talking.
Peele, coming from his comedic background, and fresh off his directorial debut of Get Out, really comes into his own in Us, blending more if his comedic sensibilities in Winston Duke’s character, which Duke is fantastic at the role he is given and had great comedic timing in the moments the story needed it. Comedy and Horror films are alike in many ways including how they construct their stories, and Peele delivers a high variety of both scares and laughs that hearken back to classic horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street and The Lost Boys. The technical craft of Us is so impressive and so engaging to watch, every shot looks beautifully lit, framed up perfectly, impressive to how they were able to put the same actor in frame acting against themselves. There is not one flaw in any of the technical aspects.
The film shines even brighter with Nyong’o’s character, as all of these actors are acting against themselves in this film, she is absolutely the standout in the physical transformation that happens when she is playing her doppelganger, and to be able to act this well when it’s really against nothing is such a challenge to be able to pull of this flawlessly warrants awards consideration. I was captivated by every moment she was in the frame and can’t praise her performance enough. All the acting were top notch, The friends of the family, played by Elizabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker while not in the film a lot both are good in their roles. I would probably say their storyline is the weakest of the film, but the movie has a lot to juggle and they aren’t important to the overall story.
Jordan Peele spoke after the film debuted at SXSW film festival about the story and how we wanted to give the audience the respect they deserved. The story treats the audience like they are smart, apposed to so many other horror films that walk you through the story beat for beat. Us can be viewed on the surface level as a bloody good time with a fun sci-fi twist to the home invasion trope, but that would be doing a big disservice to this film. How the story is constructed rewards the audience watching it more than once, and the more you dig and discuss the story the more you will be able to find. I sometimes had a difficult time with understanding some of the concepts given because of how ambiguously they are weaved into the story, and there are some story threads that if you pull too hard on can unravel a bit, particularly when Peele starts to delve into the deeper themes of the film in the 3rd act.
Overall, Us is a master-work in directing acting and storytelling. It continues Peeles unique and powerful voice with strong performances by its leads, comedy, and horror throughout, and a story that enhances with repeat viewings. Definitely go and check this film out you do not want to miss the opening weekend!
Patrick Beatty Reviews
See you, at the next review!