★★★★½ | Zach Hester
It’s pretty difficult to strike gold with your very first film as a director. Jordan Peele, one half of the team behind the sketch comedy Key & Peele, shocked audiences in 2017 with Get Out, a horror tour de force that was so far and away from the material that we were used to see from him. Peele strikes gold again with Us, a suspenseful thriller that bends genres to create a powerful message.
Us follows the Wilson family as they venture to their vacation home in Santa Cruz and are confronted by a sinister quartet of doppelgängers. That’s really all I can say without spoiling the entire plot of the movie.
Unlike Get Out, which addressed racial themes, Us places focus on the fact that ultimately there is no enemy more dangerous than ourselves. Without completely giving away this winding and unpredictable plot, in its purest form, the movie is about the struggle between the undervalued against the overprivileged. The motivation of the doppelgangers is to overcome their real world counterparts, while establishing that the clones believe themselves to be the superior being after a lifetime of being shut away. It begs the question: are we the villain of our own story?
From a technical aspect, the movie is so well-crafted with scenes involving a certain underground tunnel system (no spoilers) standing out for their cinematography. The acting in the film is so good as well, especially from Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o. She delivers a tense performance as the lead character Adelaide and as Addie’s mysterious doppelgänger, Red. It’s so impressive that not just she, but many actors in the movie, play multiple roles that are very different from one another.
Us has a powerful message with fleshed out, well-acted characters and a plot that will have you guessing every minute where it’s going to go. There was a certain anticipation leading up to this film after Get Out, but now that we’ve seen how much Jordan Peele is truly capable of, I can’t wait for what’s next.