Therefore, thus says the LORD, "Behold I am bringing disaster on them which they will not be able to escape; though they will cry to Me, yet I will not listen to them. – Jeremiah 11:11 (New American Standard Bible)
Jordan Peele returns to the theater with his sophomore film, US. Lupita Nyong’o stars as Adelaide Wilson, a woman who reluctantly goes on vacation to her home town with her Black Panther co-star Winston Duke as her husband, Gabe and her two children Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). Adelaide has a major freak out moment when her son Jason walks off while they are the beach and she can’t find him anywhere. Even though she finds him rather quickly you can see how visibly shaken she was by the incident. Later that day Adelaide tells Gabe about something that happened when she was a child on the boardwalk at the beach. As a child, Adelaide was with her mother and father but at one point she wandered off and came across a funhouse where she saw her doppelganger, also known as ‘the tethered’, and was traumatized for quite some time by the encounter. As if on cue the tether-Adelaide comes back that night; this time with doubles of Adelaide’s’ entire family for a showdown where only one side will survive.
Let’s just get this out of the way, on a first viewing US is a confusing movie. People walked out of the movie looking like they got punched in the side of the head. My initial reaction was to compare it to his first movie Get Out and say “It’s OK I guess. It’s no Get Out.” And part of that statement was correct ‘It’s no Get Out’, but it's so much more than just 'OK'
for instance, when the attack on the family is in full swing Adelaide asks her 'tether' “Who are you people?” in a raspy halting speech the tether simply responds, “We’re Americans.”
It’s at this point you realize Jordan Peele just took this movie to another level. I was fully prepared for a movie called US that dealt with a family being attacked by evil lookalikes who want to replace them. We’re our own worst enemy. With that line then you have to think, well maybe he’s trying to say that the U.S. is at war with itself. That the title is just an allegory that Americans are fighting a battle with themselves and we may see one side as evil, but they may see us as the evil ones. Maybe we’re our country’s worst enemy.
Even though it’s a horror / thriller film, Mr. Peele still manages to inject some of his humor into the film. Nyong’o and Duke work well together and they quickly develop that family dynamic in a short amount of time. On the flip side, these same characters have to play their darker murderous counterparts who are terrorizing their tethers to try and kill them. The movie also stars Elizabeth Moss (Handmaidens tale) Tim Heidecker (Antman and the Wasp), Cali and Noelle Sheldon (Friends – they played Baby Emma!) as the Tyler family, friends of the Wilson’s, who seem like the perfect family on the outside but totally dysfunctional behind the scenes.
As I said before the movie can be somewhat confusing. You really have to think about what you saw and how things are revealed in it. Overall I loved the movie, granted his first movie hit closer to home with me personally, but this one is almost equal to that but on a much larger scale. I will certainly be seeing it again because I know there are things that were missed and I’m going to need that second viewing to try and catch the small things that were missed.
“I’m curious to see what the audience sees in the film, There are specific ideas that I’m exploring and trying to say with this film, all relating to our duality as human beings, and the guilt and the sins that we bury deep within ourselves. I’m most excited to see how audiences will react to the end of this film. It gets pretty crazy at the end.”
I couldn't agree with him more on this.