"Us" Review

Updated on May 14, 2019
Logan Daniel Williamson profile image

Part-time Film Critic | Graduate Student at Columbia University

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Us injects new life into the horror movie genre melding tempo with tumult. Even the most nanosized details matter in service of the larger narrative. It is meticulously crafted from book end to book end, and there is so much thought and intentionality in the authorship.

Upon first watch, I, like many others, thought everything about the movie was brilliantly conceived until one narrative choice at the end threw all of its narrative development out the window. It was like a needle off the freaking record. I couldn't believe the switcheroo that Peele sprung on us. It felt woefully out of place and contrived. In fact, I had even said that I wanted to petition for an alternate ending, because I thought it negated everything I just saw.

However, the more I thought about it, the less critical I was of the script decision. I had to go see the movie a second time to form a more well-rounded opinion after knowing what I knew. On second watch, I realized just how wrong I was.

It turns out that the movie set the stage for the twist at the end, and it rendered a certain character to be a certain way from the beginning. It wasn't an afterthought or a vain attempt to be clever, as I initially suspected. It was intentional and calculated. I found that this is certainly a movie that warrants multiple viewings to comprehend the logic behind that ending.

Now, if a deep-thinker, like myself, really was to just cut through this with a knife, there are certainly things in here that don't entirely make sense. Some answered questions may have been better off left unanswered, and some questions are never answered that maybe should have been. However, this is a minor criticism.

From a stylistic view, Us is a cinematic masterpiece. It was awe-inspiring and imaginative and thrilling. The last sequence before the big plot reveal was masterfully done, and Jordan Peele's artistic vision and talent cannot be understated. The insidious music draped over the compelling visuals was a marvel of engineering. Shoutout to the composer of the score, Michael Abels. I think everything about the craftsmanship of this film is a wonder to behold.

The acting should be entered for awards considerations, especially Lupita Nyongo. She is asked to give so much range in this movie with the characters she portrays and she pulls it off exquisitely. She will likely get snubbed just like Toni Collette in Hereditary from last year. Academy voters often give genre films like Us the cold shoulder treatment, and this film, in all its effervescent beauty, technical savvy and brilliant acting will probably not get more than a nod for VFX.

Rating: 9/10

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    © 2019 Logan Daniel Williamson

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