Us (2019)

Day 26: 27/03/2019

Us, Jordan Peele

After watching Get Out (2017) I was so happy to got to know a new and modern “auteur” director, someone who embellishes his story with symbolism and layers of storytelling to make its viewers rewatch the whole thing, discuss it and research for the meanings in it.

Therefore I was excited about watching Us for about a year now and it did not disappoint me although some parts took me out of the story.

SOCIAL COMMENTARY AND SYMBOLISM

I found Us to be full of social commentary even more than Get Out => that fact strengthens it as a horror movie.  First, even the title itself is Us, written deliberately with a small s, remind of the United States. This is also emphasized when the family asks the shadows who they are referring to their cruel behavior on them, the shadows reply “We Are Americans” – just the ones you have overlooked (Also reminds me of Childish Gambino’s famous This Is America music video).

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Also Adelaide, the main character acts most of the movie with a handcuff – chains – on her hand. The man-made tunnels below our world felt flat at first, but when I think about it as the places mankind made themselves to for people from lower social classes it makes sense. The African American people under white rule lived oppressed and could not move freely, they could only act under their shadows. The message given by the shadows about the tunnels is that “you have made these tunnels, and trapped us there – when we were not different than you at all”. Also the fact that they call the police and it never comes tells a lot about the experiences of African American people living in the United States – the police tells them they need 14 minutes, reminding of the 14th Amendment in the constitution: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”

REFERENCES

=> 11:11: stands for duality. Jeremiah 11:11 stands for “Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.” 

=> Animals: The animal figures Adelaide plays with after she comes back, or the white rabbits and the single black rabbit among them, the birds…

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=>The Shaman Door at the beginning of the film that changed the course of everything.

=>The part where Adelaide was going down the escalators reminded me of Kill Bill a lot – because of the lighting, the pale yellow all over the screen, and a woman with a shirt covered in blood holding a fireplace stick like a katana.

FILMING

The fact that they’re fighting with themselves – with a creature who supposedly has the same physical power and characteristics – is interesting, but it could be shown in a more tense way, a way in which you are forced to fight against your strengths and embrace your weaknesses and vice versa.

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I love that at the beginning of the movie they put her backstory along with her adult story without making any transitions or marks.

I love the scene between the two boys, when they are in the wardrobe holding the fire between them.

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COLOR PALETTE

Summer colours – red, yellow and blue in a Rembrandesque tone. Not the usual, bright, happy tone you would expect from a movie that takes place during summer holiday.

The red rompers (which look like they are out of La Casa de Papel) along with golden scissors reminds me of religion and old rituals. Red for blood and sacrifice and golden for a crown, for royalty and governing. Red is the color of power.

SOUND DESIGN

The movie takes place in the 80s and from the start it is obvious that there is going to be many references to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the first horror music video ever made. Also the single glow the shadows wear can be seen as an attribute to the Thriller music video.

Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 3.35.50 AM

The sound design in the film reflected that, there has been many “horror sounds”, like the ones from the 80s, to underline the thrill but I found them to be too forceful and to take me out of the story. However, the soundtrack of the movie was very enjoyable – African beats mixed with a tense score really felt unique to me or at the song that comes up at the beginning with some religious tones, when we see the rabbits.

It is good to see that Jordan Peele has not changed his style in terms of giving us a horror movie with a lot of exciting underlying stories and symbolism. Although throughout the film  I felt that most points were made by a genius and some points were made by someone who is a lover of clichés.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Us (2019)

  1. Yes, yes, and more yes! You blew my mind with the handcuffs! It made me flash back to the scene with Young Adelaide handcuffed to a metal bunk bed reminiscent to how the slaves were tethered together.

    The 14th Amendment. Just wow! Great analysis.

    The scripture. That one totally got past me! So much is going on. You’re right. You have to watch it more than once.

    Red jumpsuits and golden scissors: Love – love your analogy on that. Peele touches on a deeper meaning while paying homage to the beloved Thriller video it seems.

    Here’s my take on the movie: https://45magazineiwa.com/2019/03/25/why-you-treat-me-so-bad-talking-about-us-the-movie/

    Liked by 1 person

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