N2M Movie Reviews by Nick and Peter: Us (2019)March 27, 2019
Director/Writer/Producer: Jordan Peele
Stars: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright-Joseph, Evan Alex
Review by Peter Vullo (@ScarecrowPete):
Following up Get Out wasn’t gonna be an easy task no matter what, but Jordan Peele’s Us generally hits its mark. It is a dense, stylistically confident movie. Its iconography is bold: red jumpsuits, golden scissors, fingerless gloves, handcuffs, funhouse mirrors, white rabbits, etc.
Us is chock full of imagery, even down to the VHS copies of C.H.U.D. and A Nightmare on Elm Street on a shelf during the movie’s opening.
Lupita Nyong’o delivers two brilliant performances. Her “Tethered” character was especially startling. I loved her voice and manner of speaking. That character, Red, delivers my favorite line of the entire movie: “We are Americans.” Her delivery there was absolutely incredible.
Winston Duke’s character seems like a perfect stand-in for Jordan Peele himself. The child actors are great too. They actually get to become heroes and getting to see them do their thing is a lot of fun.
The last act of the movie loses some steam with way too much exposition and some reveals that aren’t entirely satisfying. The ending could have either been made more ambiguous or more clear and potentially worked a bit better. Some of the movie’s explanations felt a little too goofy or hokey. The movie ran somewhat long too and pacing was an issue.
Other that that, Jordan Peele is an assured director and Us is filmed purposefully and beautifully. Peele has a deliberate eye and it shows. There’s also some gorgeous choreography on display.
Us knows how to thrill. I saw it in a packed theater and the audience clapped, shouted, and laughed along with the movie. There was style, scares, humor, and blood, but no sophomore slump.
Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright-Joseph, Evan Alex
Review by Nick Muldoon (@NMuldoon):
So, this is a very very intial reaction review and I don’t have my thoughts all together yet.
As a visual filmmaker this is leaps and bounds better than Get Out – Peele really finds a voice in this film for who he wants to be stylistically and from the cinematography, ambience, and use of music – he does some absolutely genius things.
From the moment this film starts, everything is firing on all cylinders, I love the storytelling, the characters, the setpieces are flawless and it genuinely was good at creeping me out at times or at least keeping me in suspense. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this probably has the best first hour of a horror film since 28 Days Later. There’s so many little human touches early on that I appreciate that makes this family feel so real too.
The cast also very much delivers – it’s insane that Lupita has never been the lead in a film before this cause she absolutely brings it on every level and even sells what could be goofy moments. Which speaking of, Peele has certainly kept his comedic wit too, the film still has Peele’s sense of humor here but I found the balance more neat in this film than ‘Get Out’
Now the more downside – while Get Out was neat and concise and it’s themes were pronounced. The third act of ‘Us’ gets a bit more messy which makes it a bit hard to figure out what it’s trying to say and also the overexplanation feels like it kinda of kills some of the tension. It almost feels like Jordan Peele had so many ideas and I’m not sure all of them work. That said – I left the theater also feeling like I needed to see it a second time more so than any movie in a long time. I’m very curious how it’ll play when seperating the visceral experience from the first time and approaching it more intellectually next time.
This is my score for now, but it has the potential to go way up or way down on my rewatch. I’ll be doing that this weekend.**
** Nick followed this up with simply: Round 2 was even better.
Nick gives ‘Us’ 4.5 Not Too Much Guys out of 5
Peter refuses to give star ratings in his reviews (he liked it).