Us – Fantastic, But

Rating (3 out of 5)

Summary: “Us” is a great movie until the final big reveal at the end. The reveal actually spoiled the movie, because it opens up so many issues. However, if you can ignore plot issues, then “Us” is a fantastic film, and probably a 4 or 4.5. Great acting performances all around and some of the best shots in movies today. Jordan Peele does a fantastic job. If you are a casual movie goer and like a good thriller, go watch “Us” right away. If you tend to overthink films like I do, then maybe wait.

Plot: The Wilson family are enjoying their time together when they are terrorized by duplicates of themselves. How can they battle Us and survive the night?

Detail: I don’t usually call out the directors but Jordan Peele has a fabulous eye. He balances close-ups with wide shots which provides a visual relief to the audience. The close-ups create tension and usually without the character talking. One shot captured my attention above all others, is when Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) heads down the escalator. The shot is from the bottom up looking up, with the a soft lighting behind her on cream colored walls. Phenomenal shot. The constant pace kept you in your seat to the finale.

A pleasant aspect I noticed, is the wee bits of humor intermixed into the scenes. The humor added a nice reprieve from the constant tension, especially when interjected into the middle of a slashing sequence.

Great acting by everyone. In particular, Lupita Nyong’o was superb. My difficultly is determining if Ms. Nyong’o excels more in “Us” than in her Academy Award winning performance in “12 Years a Slave”. While she is fantastic, kudos to the rest of the family, Gabe (Winston Duke), Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex).

SPOILER!! The majority of the movie is thriller bliss but the whole movie falls apart for me with the explanation of the duplicates and the concept of tethering. The duplicates and the whole switching doesn’t make sense when you start thinking about it. How were they tethered? Were they just abandoned, but only like 10 years ago or did Red give birth down there? How did Adelaide’s switch places and neither Red or Adelaide not remember, or did Jordan Peele simple keep information from us?

Oh, and while the rest of the duplicates quickly dispatch their nemesis, the leader Red (Lupita Nyong’o) takes her time. Even in the end, the movie started feeling like a Bond film, the hero escapes while the villain explains it all. The whole film unraveled from me in the last 15 minutes.

I see critics clamoring to provide some wonderfully deep esoteric interpretation of the duplicates soulless mirror of ourselves. But Adelaide is actually a duplicate and appears to have a soul, intelligence, and a voice. Each time I explore the meaning and the way the movie is structured, I find a fallacy with each variant. More of it would have made sense if Adelaide and Red didn’t switch places in the 1980s. The switching appears to be the one fact I have issue reconciling with the various themes.

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