Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Us (2019)

Us (2019) theatrical poster.pngDirector: Jordan Peele
Running Time: 116 Minutes
Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Madison Curry, Ashley McKoy, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon, Duke Nicholson

With the release of 2017's Get Out, Jordan Peele made waves with his directorial debut. Two years later, his sophomore follow-up tells a chilling tale which delivers much of what made the first resonate so well. A socially relevant piece with effective bouts of horror and comedy, which proves rewarding upon repeat viewings.

Venturing to Santa Cruz for a family vacation, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o) is wary of returning to where she had a traumatising experience back in her childhood. A trip to the beach does little to assuage her fears, when her youngest son Jason (Evan Alex) wanders off. Later that night, a mysterious group break into the house, where the family are shocked to discover the intruders are their doppelgangers.

Through the lens of a family besieged by their red jumpsuit wearing doubles, Jordan Peele brings to life an unsettling tale which carries a multitude of intriguing themes. A story of how we're our own worst enemies, which also details a class divide, where those considered lower down on the ladder are overlooked, forgotten about, and disregarded. There's plenty to chew on within, conveyed in an entrancing manner which gets under ones skin throughout. Some relief is allowed thanks to effective moments of humour, which proves to be a necessary release when the end result is left to haunt your mind long after.

All of this would be for nought if it weren't for the phenomenal cast, who work wonders to bring alive their roles. Those who portray more than one role work wonders to differentiate between them, through wonderful physical performances and the presence they bring to screen. Front and centre is Lupita Nyong'o managing to be utterly masterful, as she breathes life into two of the years most compelling characters with a pair of the years greatest performances, as both the comforting mother, and the chilling double. Showing a brilliant versatility is Winston Duke, who plays the loving father who makes dad jokes, and then doubles up with a frightening physicality.

One part which sticks in the mind is the soundtrack, bringing together a terrific assortment of tunes which are utilised in a terrifying manner. It must be said though, one musical selection is played to a brilliant comedic effect. Though above all, the standout is the "I Got 5 On It" remix, which takes a recognisable tune and makes it absolutely terrifying. It was prominent on the marketing, but is utilised in-film to a masterful effect.

Us grants food for thought alongside a chilling feature involving doppelgangers, played by a masterful cast at the top of their game. With just two feature films released, Jordan Peele has cemented himself as one of the strongest original voices working in cinema today.

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