Review: Jordan Peele’s Us Is Dazzling to Look At. But What Is It Trying to Say?

Writer-director Jordan Peele’s 2017 Get Out was a brash and intriguing debut, a picture that wrestled with the notion of whether or not America can ever be a post-racial society: Vital and spooky, it refused to hand over easy answers. With the ambitious home-invasion horror chiller Us, Peele goes even deeper into the conflicted territory of class and race and privilege; he also ponders the traits that make us most human. But this time, he’s got so many ideas he can barely corral them, let alone connect them. He overthinks himself into a corner, and we’re stuck there with him.

Lupita Nyong’o stars as Adelaide, who has overcome a traumatic childhood experience and now has a family of her own, including husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and two kids: graceful, well-adjusted Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and the slightly more awkward Jason (Evan Alex), who wears a wolfman mask pushed up on his head as a kind of security blanket. We meet the comfortably middle-class Wilson family as they’re heading off on vacation to Santa Cruz, the site of Adelaide’s childhood ordeal. On their first night away, they look out and see a family of four, mute and stony echoes of themselves, standing in the driveway. From there, Peele unspools a story of “shadow” people, long forced to live underground but now streaming to the Earth’s surface to claim, violently, what they feel is rightfully theirs.

The effectiveness of Us may depend on how little you know about it going in, so the spoiler-averse may wish to stop reading here. But it’s impossible to address any of the movie’s larger ideas without giving away key plot points: Before long, that shadow family has infiltrated the house, and now that we can get a good look, we see that each of them is a not-quite-right replica of a Wilson, dressed in a red jumpsuit and wielding a pair of menacing-looking shears. At one point a terrified Adelaide asks the other mother, a twin of herself but with vacant, crazy eyes and a demented smile, “What are you people?” “We are Americans,” the lookalike responds, in a whispery growl.

That’s a bright, neon-lit Author’s Message if ever there was one, though the idea of using a group of sunlight-deprived semi-zombies as a metaphorical element in a parable about class complacency isn’t necessarily a bad one. Are you and your family doing great? Do you live in a

Source:: Time – Entertainment

      

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