Friday, July 3, 2020

Review Us (2019)

#Us (2019): 7/10

Us sees Jordan Peele return to the horror genre for his second directional outing, as a family are terrorised by deranged doppelgängers whilst on a family holiday in Santa Cruz. After the breakaway success of Peele’s ‘Get Out’, all eyes were on Us to really deliver.

And deliver it does. It’s a slow-burning opening as we get great insight into the day-to-day lives of the family, and experience the shocking 1980’s flashback that sets the events of Us in motion. Michael Abels’ devilishly unsettling score keeps nerves on a knife edge throughout the home invasion and subsequent chase scenes, as the family are subjected to attacks by their “tethered” counterparts.

Most impressive of all though are the performances, as each actor plays both “tethered” and civilised family member, so good in fact that you forget they are the same actor. Lupita Nyong’o is undoubtedly the standout as terrified but strong mother Adelaide, and hungry for revenge doppelgänger Red. The amount of feeling and emotion she manages to convey from facial expressions and movement alone is astonishing, and will surely now be in the running for an Oscar nomination come January next year. Winston Duke also delivers a solid performance as father Gabe and provides much of the subtle humour, subtle enough that it doesn’t feel forced or out of place.

Some may point to the film’s reluctance to give a lot of answers and the underwhelming big reveal as weak points, but overall Us is an unrelenting thrill ride that encourages repeat viewings thanks to its intricately woven layers of symbolism and social commentary.

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