Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

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criterionoop
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:46 am

Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#51 Post by criterionoop » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:48 pm

Big Ben - I partially agree with you, but the part that I challenge is the motivation behind the tethered people:
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Essentially, the only person who felt that they were rotting was Red because she was not a shadow person. The turning point for this came when Red was dancing and the others felt like it was a divine moment - or as Red was saying, that she was confronted by God. Essentially the people are not functioning on vengeance for themselves, but to a large extent, they are functioning on Red’s desire for vengeance (she even states that it took many years to organize this whole thing. So while I can’t necessarily say what their motivations were, I can only go on the fact that Red has a lot more agency than the others and created a whole hand signal language for her family’s actions.

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Persona
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#52 Post by Persona » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:26 am

Holy exposition dump, Batman.

But anyways, well.

Hmm.

Ah...

I mean, I had a lot of fun. Good full-audience theater experience. I don't know if the editing was always doing the job it needed to do in terms of building dread or maximizing the effectiveness of certain scenes but I was a fan of the humor and the cinematography and the overall vibe and Lupita is a treasure and the funky fresh soundtrack.

This film certainly SEEMS to invite a detailed thematic reading, but, uh... Yeah.

I think Peele got the sense that a lot of people were gonna come out for this one. This is a fun and fundamentally strange film. It's a fable and an allegory and some of it seems purely visually motivated, and when Peele just listens to that visual instinct, it sings. But I think he also feels the need to explain, or establish a schematic sort of access to his thoughts and his story here... and so you get an Exposition Dump for the Ages and just some really heavy-handed slow-motion underlining for emPHASis.

Loved that opening, man, it was grrreat--felt like someone brought Carpenter into 2019. Loved big fat chunks of the first half of the movie. Loved the setpieces. Loved so many shots from the end of the movie even as the movie trying to explain itself really kind of lost me. In general I thought the humor worked better than the horror, to the point that maybe the humor was undermining the horror but I don't know, I was okay with this being more of a dark family comedy with some horror tropes and high concept ideas than a horror movie with comedic and conceptual elements. The overall balance and tone worked for me but yeah, man, some scenes were edited masterfully and others felt kind of slack.

I haven't read too many reviews of this yet but I usually have my own sort of insights after a film like this and with this one... yeah, I'm struggling. I enjoyed the experience but for as much as the film sort of ponderously seems to invite analysis, I don't think I can really analyze it in a cogent way because I'm not sure how cogent the film itself is, despite it being a very woven together piece. The way it says things is seductive and engaging, but what it's actually saying beneath the polish and coherency of its presentation feels much more like a self-cancelling muddle. God, for all I know, that's the point!

So yeah, just looking at this as a genre exercise and piece of entertainment, I think it is really successful. If they had removed the exposition maybe I could have just reveled in that aspect of it more. Feels like that third act would have been so much more entrancing and haunting if that monologue had simply been removed.

EDIT: someone on a different forum saw an advance test screening and said that version was better, they liked the editing more and they said there was less exposition at the end and that it was more ambiguous. No doubt Peele must have gotten some feedback from the test audiences or the suits that he needed to try to explain things more. Bummer.

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What A Disgrace
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#53 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:45 pm

A 4K disc is forthcoming. Steelbooks from Best Buy and Zavvi too.

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Never Cursed
Such is life on board the Redoutable
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#54 Post by Never Cursed » Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:06 am

It's best to go into this expecting nothing more or less than a well-made genre thriller (which I feel is a more appropriate label than "horror," given how much Peele is trying to undercut the stereotypically "horrific" filmic things that happen in this), as anyone looking for a Deep Meaning like that of Peele's last movie will no doubt come away disappointed. Even on those terms, there are problems - the film is overcut, as Persona points out (though this is probably related to the double roles more than anything), and there is no overarching logic or meaning behind the actions of the doppelgängers beyond an incredibly vague sense of revenge as expressed by Red. There's no explanation why, say, Jason's double alone mimics him, it's just one of the many weird things they do/are/embody that could at first glance appear to be meaningful or metaphorical, but does not actually have meaning attached to it. That said, I laughed and got tense at the appropriate moments, and the score in particular does a great job of capturing the interesting blend of fear, mystery, fury, and curiosity experienced by each set of characters. I didn't love this or anything, but it was a solid three-star movie, and I certainly can't understand a particularly strong dislike for the movie, especially when Get Out provoked roughly the same response as this did from me.

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HJackson
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#55 Post by HJackson » Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:45 am

Never Cursed wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:06 am
There's no explanation why, say, Jason's double alone mimics him, it's just one of the many weird things they do/are/embody that could at first glance appear to be meaningful or metaphorical, but does not actually have meaning attached to it.
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Jason's relationship with his double is different to that of most of the other characters because he's the child of an above ground person and an escaped Tethered. I'm still trying to piece this thing together and missed the big dump of exposition at the end because I found the croaky voice hard to parse, but Red - the Tethered who is in the real world - "teaches" her real-world counterpart to dance so it's not clear to me in which direction the psychic bond between the two groups works.

As far as social commentary there is obviously a difference between the resilence shown by the black family against their doubles and the way their white friends succumb instantly by a combination of complacency and the greater viciousness of their repressed other halves - underlined I thought by the ironic Beach Boys/NWA contrast - but it's not a reading I'm really interested in pursuing for fear that it's offensively misguided. But I certainly think the meaning here is more about race and political psychology than class.

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Lost Highway
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#56 Post by Lost Highway » Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:06 am

Never Cursed wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:06 am
It's best to go into this expecting nothing more or less than a well-made genre thriller (which I feel is a more appropriate label than "horror," given how much Peele is trying to undercut the stereotypically "horrific" filmic things that happen in this),
It’s always confusing when people claim that a horror film isn’t a horror film.

https://movieweb.com/us-movie-horror-ge ... dan-peele/

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Never Cursed
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#57 Post by Never Cursed » Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:23 am

HJackson wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:45 am
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Jason's relationship with his double is different to that of most of the other characters because he's the child of an above ground person and an escaped Tethered. I'm still trying to piece this thing together and missed the big dump of exposition at the end because I found the croaky voice hard to parse, but Red - the Tethered who is in the real world - "teaches" her real-world counterpart to dance so it's not clear to me in which direction the psychic bond between the two groups works.

As far as social commentary there is obviously a difference between the resilence shown by the black family against their doubles and the way their white friends succumb instantly by a combination of complacency and the greater viciousness of their repressed other halves - underlined I thought by the ironic Beach Boys/NWA contrast - but it's not a reading I'm really interested in pursuing for fear that it's offensively misguided. But I certainly think the meaning here is more about race and political psychology than class.
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But Zora is in the same situation as Jason with regards to her parents, and her Tethered doesn't mimic her or behave differently from the rest of the doubles. Jason's double stands apart from all the Tethered, for sure, but I can't find a reason as to why.

And I'm not sure if the doubles for the white family are more vicious so much as the doubles for our main family have different aims than the others. Red says it herself in her first monologue - she wants to make the Wilsons suffer, which is a far cry from the dispassionate and quick scissor-stabbing done to both the Tylers and, per the newscast, everyone else in Santa Cruz. The Tethered as a whole seem to rely largely on surprise, which is why the white doubles struggle with the Wilsons - they put up a fight where the Tylers didn't. There's also a bit of sick playful jokiness in their death scene, which a lot of people in at least my screening reacted to with laughter.
Lost Highway wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:06 am
Never Cursed wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:06 am
It's best to go into this expecting nothing more or less than a well-made genre thriller (which I feel is a more appropriate label than "horror," given how much Peele is trying to undercut the stereotypically "horrific" filmic things that happen in this),
It’s always confusing when people claim that a horror film isn’t a horror film.

https://movieweb.com/us-movie-horror-ge ... dan-peele/
I'm not saying that Peele didn't try to make a horror film, I'm saying that it feels less like one than something akin to a psychological thriller a la (to borrow a comparison) Funny Games, expanded in scope and minus the games. Really, I feel that this fails as horror played straight - there is an excellent buildup of tension in the second and third acts, but hardly anything in the way of scares because Peele does so much work telegraphing and signalling the actions of the Tethered.

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Lost Highway
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#58 Post by Lost Highway » Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:40 pm

I don’t believe the definition of genre comes down to personal feelings, or in the case of horror films, whether one found the film scary. It comes down to certain conventions, intentions and tropes. The doppelgänger is an enduring motive of the horror film. It at least goes back to The Student of Prague, first filmed in 1913.

The claim that Us is a psychological thriller doesn’t make much sense. The doppelgängers aren’t figments of the characters imagination, they are supposed to be taken as being real, the result of some massive mad-science experiment gone wrong. They are Frankenstein monsters cooked up in an underground lab, not common psychopaths.

I thought that after the set up, Us falls apart but that doesn’t make it any less if a horror film or more if a psychological thriller, for me it just makes Us a failed (horror) film. Peele intended the film to be scary, according to reports and reviews, for some it was.

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geoffcowgill
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#59 Post by geoffcowgill » Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:13 pm

Never Cursed wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:23 am
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But Zora is in the same situation as Jason with regards to her parents, and her Tethered doesn't mimic her or behave differently from the rest of the doubles. Jason's double stands apart from all the Tethered, for sure, but I can't find a reason as to why.
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Doesn't Red say something about "her" Jason, Pluto, being taken from her prematurely, as a Cesarian or something? I can't quite piece it together, but is there a hint that Jason is a Tethered, as perhaps indicated by the knowing looks he and Adelaide exchange at the end of the film? Some kind of baby-swap? Not that there is any indication who would have done it, or why. I would like to think there are some meaningful allegories at work or at the least a tightly constructed world with some internal logic to it, but I really feel that unfortunately the whole thing is a bit half-baked, or perhaps simply baked.

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denti alligator
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#60 Post by denti alligator » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:10 am

I wasn't convinced by this, despite it being really well made and in places quite effective as a horror movie.

First of all, I read it as
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an allegory of Trump's American, MAGA suits and all. It's not all that insightful as that, but neither is a simple upper/lower class reading.
Second, I did not buy
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the twist at the end, because we get memories from before the "switch" from the person who couldn't have had those memories. That's either a) lazy or b) dishonest to the viewer. Neither options is acceptable.
That said, I still thought some of the visuals were stunning.

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Never Cursed
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#61 Post by Never Cursed » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:59 am

geoffcowgill wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:13 pm
Never Cursed wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:23 am
SpoilerShow
But Zora is in the same situation as Jason with regards to her parents, and her Tethered doesn't mimic her or behave differently from the rest of the doubles. Jason's double stands apart from all the Tethered, for sure, but I can't find a reason as to why.
SpoilerShow
Doesn't Red say something about "her" Jason, Pluto, being taken from her prematurely, as a Cesarian or something? I can't quite piece it together, but is there a hint that Jason is a Tethered, as perhaps indicated by the knowing looks he and Adelaide exchange at the end of the film? Some kind of baby-swap? Not that there is any indication who would have done it, or why. I would like to think there are some meaningful allegories at work or at the least a tightly constructed world with some internal logic to it, but I really feel that unfortunately the whole thing is a bit half-baked, or perhaps simply baked.
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Red says Jason was born to Adelaide via Caesarean section, and implies that she had to birth Pluto herself in imitation of that. I don't know if there is any definite hint of Jason being a Tethered (it certainly doesn't seem possible given how much the film stresses Red/Adelaide's unique relationship and identities), but I suppose it's not an invalid reading of the ending.

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#62 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:23 am

I liked Us a lot. Didn't find it particularly funny (although the "call the police" command for the Siri-like device was!) but it did what a horror film in a dark cinema ought to do, and make you jump several times. I don't know whether I want to trawl through Reddit forums to look for hidden meanings that may not exist - but I certainly need to see it again. I get the sense there were a number of things that didn't make sense, but I don't tend to get worked up too much about iffy plot holes if the overall effect works, and I think it does here. It's not as strong as Get Out, and it won't be as zeitgesity (that said, I told my hairdresser I was going to see this movie this weekend and when she asked what it was, I said it was the follow up to Get Out - which she'd never heard of - and I struggled to explain it!) but as someone said above, it's a messier, more daring to some extent second film that's inevitably not going to reach the heights of the film that preceded it.

bakofalltrades
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#63 Post by bakofalltrades » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:04 pm

Never Cursed wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:23 am
HJackson wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:45 am
SpoilerShow
Jason's relationship with his double is different to that of most of the other characters because he's the child of an above ground person and an escaped Tethered. I'm still trying to piece this thing together and missed the big dump of exposition at the end because I found the croaky voice hard to parse, but Red - the Tethered who is in the real world - "teaches" her real-world counterpart to dance so it's not clear to me in which direction the psychic bond between the two groups works.
SpoilerShow
But Zora is in the same situation as Jason with regards to her parents, and her Tethered doesn't mimic her or behave differently from the rest of the doubles. Jason's double stands apart from all the Tethered, for sure, but I can't find a reason as to why.
SpoilerShow
The mirrored actions also occur between the fathers: when the tethered characters first enter the house, the father pushes up his glasses and his tethered character mimics the behavior. (Though I don't think the tethered character mimics any other behavior thereafter.) I think a similar thing happens with Red/Adelaide and a hand gesture in that moment, but I may be misremembering.

But really, if you take it even a step further, the concept holds no water: Lupita's character swaps places with her tethered as a child, but there's no possible explanation as to why the actual character's behavior (occurring now in the tunnels underground) wouldn't have continued to control the tethered character's actions above ground—which theoretically would make the tethered character behave in a completely incomprehensible manner to anyone interacting with her.

My gut says the simplest answer might be the right one here: it's just a poorly developed plot mechanism and not much else.

Also, on a sillier note, was there a reason that Lupita's character, while handcuffed to the coffee table, couldn't just move the coffee table a foot closer to reach the fireplace poker?! Did I miss something there?

nitin
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Re: Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

#64 Post by nitin » Tue May 07, 2019 3:30 am

I found Get Out to be a very good movie but the actual horror/thriller parts of it underwhelming. This film improves on those aspects, there’s a couple of very nicely done set pieces, but it has MASSIVE logic gaps, almost as if Peele found an interesting theme/idea he wanted to turn into a movie but without really thinking it through. Instead, at various points in the movie, it either wants you to accept things purely on a plot mechanics level or on a thematic/metaphor level.

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