‘Us’ Movie Review

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“Us” follows an African American family (the Wilson’s). One night, a group of assailants show up at the Wilson’s vacation home. Eventually, the Wilson’s find out that they are battling their doppelgängers. The end result is a film full of versatile performances. Simply put, writer/director Jordan Peele’s film is a definite success. Overall, it is capable of putting you into a cinematic trance.

After giving us an effective opening, consisting of dread and heartbreak, Peele sets his sights on the Wilson family. Each family member is fleshed out. The familial dynamics are extremely clear. Thus, once the cinematic storm hits, we care about the family, due to Peele’s patient and efficient storytelling. Peele isn’t making a story of immense gore and action. Instead, he is making a picture that deals with humanistic proportions.

For awhile, “Us” is a home invasion thriller. In this case, Peele doesn’t waste any time setting up the horrors of domestic disturbance. Everything happens suddenly. The doppelgängers are efficient infiltrators, capable of overpowering any opponent. As an audience member, it’s the worst thing imaginable: going up against an immovable force, while in a state of great vulnerability.

In Peele’s stories, minor aspects have massive symbolic implications. As a result, the cinematic experience is ever changing. It’s not a coincidence that the doppelgängers use scissors to inflict violence. When you use scissors, two mirrored pieces are coming together. In this case, humanistic duplicates are coming together.

Also, what are scissors used for? Well, these household items cut off a piece of something. Here, the scissors signify the cutting of one’s existence. In Peele’s film, the doppelgängers, through bloody means, want to cut ties with their other selves. Peele, an artist committed to great detail, gives his film an abundance of intellect and symbolism. There is always something new to find. As I watched the film for a second time, I felt like an investigator, analyzing every single clue.

Peele, a huge horror fan, makes his monsters relatable. He hints at the notion that humanity is to blame. Each party represents the duality of mankind. But deep down, Peele is commenting on how we treat other parties. Simply put, we blame others. Here, Peele’s brutally honest picture is telling us that we should look deep within ourselves. Are we contributing to the problem at hand? Are we doing anything to ease the hostility or suffering? Are we really the monsters?

Peele’s film deals with elements of classism. In this cinematic world, normal human beings represent the middle and upper class systems. The doppelgängers represent the lower class system. When we see middle/upper class living, humans seem bored and ungrateful, even though their existence is correlated to great pleasure. Peele’s utilization of doppelgänger living (lower class living) is heartbreaking. Their existence is connected to the essence of loneliness and displeasure. Peele is telling us that we often take our lives for granted. We turn a blind eye to other peoples’ lives. We forget that other people are struggling. By showcasing how unaware we are, Peele’s film shakes us to our core.

I highly recommend “Us.” Peele’s picture is cinematic hypnotism. The ending becomes a bit expository, but overall, its power cannot be denied. On the surface level, the film is massively entertaining. But underneath the surface level, there is so much going on. “Us” is a layered story, filled with many messages and mysteries. There are a number of different ways to interpret the film. As a result, the picture will generate a ton of conversation. It’s the type of film that stays with you…long after the credits roll.

My Grade:  A

Dillon McCarty can be contacted at [email protected]

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