Jordan Peele’s “Us” was the first horror movie I’ve ever seen in a movie theater. It blew my mind.
The casting, screenplay, cinematography and any other positive movie term all applied to this masterpiece; “Us” checked all the boxes. Sitting in the theater, I felt as if Peele hand-picked each scene with such care, he was spoon feeding every moment to the audience. The behind-the-scenes supplement I found most powerful was by far the music. The score for the movie, written by Michael Abels, adds another layer of effect to every single scene. The deep cello, the hard string violin: the minimalism of the music itself added such strong movement to tense moments.
The music was not the only subtle element Peele added to “Us” that had great effect. The camera angles discussed with the viewer the happenings on the screen, zooming in when the characters explained situations and panning out on scenes of the Wilsons walking on the beach to show innocence, but also a looming threat.
I enjoyed every little piece of intentional work put in to “Us.” The subtle hints dropped throughout the movie educated viewers so they kept up with the confusing plotline, but also so audiences could begin putting, piece by piece, why elements of the film occurred and what they meant.
Furthermore, “Us” convinced audiences of a higher being, not only in a godly way, but in a sense where we, as viewers, could understand how our own lives work and how many of us take our privilege for granted. This is a theme I did not understand until a good half hour after I left the theater, which is yet another aspect I loved about “Us.” I paid for a movie, and I left with a great experience as well as time to happily reflect on what I just watched, what the message was, why Peele chose to write the movie with certain aspects and a mission to figure out what the heck just happened.
As audiences saw with Peele’s earlier film “Get Out,” his intentions are not to simply drop a shallow movie for fun that leaves viewers scared. Instead, Peele takes his platform and uses it to send a message. He leaves enough loose ends to intrigue viewers so they pursue answers, ingeniously projecting his message without being too direct. Peele allows viewers to decide what they think about the movie, and in this, provokes reflection.
On the surface level, “Us” is just simply a fantastic film. Lupita Nyong’o does an incredible job of playing a duo role with intensity and emotion. Producers casted Winston Duke perfectly to play Gabe, and both the children, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, in the film carry their roles with grace and expertise.
“Us” is not a film to simply walk in and out of. Every single minute of the film riddles audiences with questions of what happened, what’s happening and what is going to happen. Peele keeps viewers on their toes and engaged throughout the entire movie by continuously engaging their minds and capturing their attention with music, camera work and incredible acting. “Us” is a film once cannot see just once, as there are new clues and puzzle pieces to find and put together to uncover Peele’s intense, confusing and captivating world.
What did you think of “Us?”