Mei 30, 2019

Review Us (2019)


“US” (2019)
By Jordan Peele | USA
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Though it start off quite jarring with the jumps between comedy and horror, Jordan Peele’s latest child, “Us”, quickly exhilarate into both an entertaining adrenaline rush and a collection of thought provoking ideas, knitted together as if in mirrored opposite (sounds familiar?). Like his breakout film, “Get Out”, Jordan’s true sense of horror lays not on what’s happening on the screen, but rather the idea that it subtly suggests. These ideas were laid bear in the very opening text crawl : America is built on top of these mazes; these tunnels of secrecy, of discrimination, of violence all burried deep within the privilege it suggests to its people. Not realizing that for every small thing they take for granted, someone down there had to suffer for it.
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“Us”, in a social commentary context is indeed about the exploitation of consumerist culture. And like the title, Peele’s clear intention was indeed to put this mirror to the people of his nation — hence the title “Us” as in US. Yet, the genius of the film is that it works despite taken out of that context and how it fits a lot of messages both in a personal and societal level.
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When talking about the actual plot, the conceit is clearly meant as a personal journey. For the most part, we as the audience were put directly in the shoes of our protagonist, Adelaide, straight away from the opening. We followed her through the traumatic event of her childhood, an event that shaped her and the story of the film, and we see that repercussions seeping through her adult self. This is where Lupita Nyong’o acting brilliance comes to play. Nyong’o perform Adelaide always vigilantly, always reacting and observing her surroundings; thus inciting us to feel the unhinged and paranoid nature she is feeling throughout the film first act. Combined her performance with Peele’s eyeful camera work, they both managed to make scenes of a summer vacation on a beach becomes the most tension filled scene of the year so far.
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After these moments of characterizations, “Us” then finally live up to its title and turn the focus to an unexpected pairing. Though its easy to assume the title itself refers to our main family, I truly believe the Us we’re talking about is between Adelaide and the shadow of herself, Red. This relationship is the crux of the personal messages “Us” is bringing to the table. It is that old question of what makes us ourselves? It touches on nature vs. nurture, of how two same individuals raised in two polar environments will grow to become extreme opposites of one another. That particular question then echoes in the larger societal context. Are the qualities of a person is ultimately entangled with their class? Of their place in society? It asks us to ponder why there are these stereotypes of “the hood”, that refers to less fortunate african-american neighborhoods and whether that should’ve been taken as an issue of race or societal class. Putting an affluent black family in the center of “Us” strengthens that gap of economy and social class in comparison with their less fortunate shadow selves.
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It’s interesting to see how people is taking these ideas in. Some, seemingly thought that the film is too blatant in its messaging while others think of it as confusing. But to me, what many don’t realized is that that is the genius of Peele. Like “Get Out”, this latest addition to his directorial work is one that works in many layers. It works definitely well as the surface entertainment that it is. However it does offer a deeper look for those who are seeking for it. How deep you dig into these layers are all up to you. But the deeper you go, the deeper you are rewarded by the true horror Peele is hiding beneath. Like I said in the beginning : the horror of Peele’s work comes not on what’s shown on the screen, but what is hidden beneath its ideas.
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“Us” proves again of Peele’s vision as a horror auteur and a creative director. Entertaining at its most simple form, intriguing at its second layer, and builds into a scarier and scarier notions with every deeper level it uncovers, the film is one that will haunt you more hours after you watch it.

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