Jordan Peele no doubt wants each of his artistic creations to stand on their own.
They do. And they should.
The Academy Award-winning behemoth that is Get Out will always be his benchmark. And rightfully so. That said, for his sophomore film, Us, as enjoyable as it is, is a tougher film to get in.
Whereas Get Out could be plainly viewed as a thriller, the viewer is dared to dive deeper into the social commentary for an ironically more-satisfying story. With Us, Peele is asking for a much deeper, and not quite as refreshing dive.
Us is beautifully made and fantastically acted. Lupita Nyong’o elevates every film she is in. Academy take note: she has space on a shelf for more Oscar gold. She plays the matriarch of a normal family out on vacation who must soon race from death, and scissors, by insane jumpsuit-wearing versions of themselves. “We’re Americans,” the mirror-mirror version of Nyong’o boasts. True that, but for a voyeuristic film, Peele keeps any origin-story insights in a tight, ahem, twilight zone.
Peele clearly has a message to broadcast on duality. Everyone wears masks; some are simply more noticeable. He is asking the viewer to decide on which shadow runs the longest. Unfortunately this duality makes Us a more uneven film than it should be.
Us isn’t sure if it should be slasher horror or a meta comedy. As a result, the horror scenes appear unintentionally humorous. The comedic beats too much of a stretch.
If anything, the film is original. And enjoyable. Unfortunately, his Shyamalan-istic reveal is more of head scratcher than head turner.