'Us' | Film Review
Jordan Peele’s work is immersive. A few minutes into watching his movies everybody sitting in your vicinity seems to disappear and all that remains is you and the gripping story unfolding on screen. He achieves this effect by allowing his films to breathe. Sometimes the camera lingers on scenery. Sometimes it lingers on a person. Either way, it demonstrates a patience in filmmaking that is rare for a first or second-time director, meaning that Peele undoubtedly honed this skill throughout the 53-episode run of his comedy show and was able to successfully apply it to horror.
This duality—comedy and horror—is perhaps the most striking (and successful) component of Peele’s new film ‘Us,’ the follow-up to his Oscar winning debut ‘Get Out.’ There are just as many laughs littered throughout the film as there are moments of shock and tension.
Yet there’s a hollowness to ‘Us,’ as though the burdens of being one of the most prolific creators currently working in Hollywood stunted the overall development of the film. Peele likely took years to write ‘Get Out’ and the astounding density of the story shows. Peele had perhaps half as much time to write ‘Us’—while being twice as busy—and the product speaks for itself.
For example, there’s an interesting red-blue dynamic applied to the costume and set design, but its intended meaning doesn’t always feel consistently applied. Furthermore, one of the on-screen deaths is needlessly unrealistic, while a particular shot setup towards the end of the film tries to be artistic but just doesn’t work … at all.
As a result, it begs the question of whether ‘Us’ is disappointing compared to ‘Get Out,’ or if it’s disappointing entirely on its own.