We discuss the highly anticipated movie Us from the mind of Jordan Peele. Join us this week as we share our honest thoughts and opinions about this movie that also create a broader dialogue of what makes a good story. Can a movie stand with cracks in the foundational narrative? What were the rules and logic for the world with the tethers? Share your thoughts with us.

Stats

Released: March 2019
Budget: $20,000,000
Opening Weekend: $71,100,000

Breakdown and Analysis

Core Narrative

So many foundational questions were not answered it made it hard to enjoy the movie.

If you’re going to bring your world to the table, make sure it’s fully cooked. If you create a world, you still need to live within the rules and the logic that was set up.

There is nothing wrong with leaving things open to interpretation however we should be given the resources to base this. Not stretch as far as theorising missing core parts of the narrative.

They introduced symbolism including, how it is intrinsic, or about povery or about United States. Example of an overarching narrative that introducing clear themes but leaves open to interpretation for the audience is Childish Gambino’s (Donald Glover) This is America, which is featured on this soundtrack.

Good storytelling takes us on the journey and have our investment before emotional moments. How could we care for her character when we really don’t know her? There were deeply resonating moments where Adelaide felt so much pain but we didn’t have the context to relate to her. From a technical acting point of view, Lupita excelled as well as the child actors.

Not allowing the movie to build up to this level of intense emotion was a disservice. If they had fleshed it out and made it more cohesive that she was suffering, we would know we should be feeling something but you are giving this scene for free. You need to earn my emotions, earn my tears.

Why was this happening? Where did it come from? Unanswered questions murkied the waters between what we were watching. The movie Purge beautifully set what the rules were for that world.

What makes a good story?

The secondary elements were essentially without fault, however the overarching narrative was not cohesive.

We’re all for rewatching movies but by end of the first viewing we need to understand it. Re-watching is a reward to peel back more layers. Like in Get Out, understanding Deer themes in the movie but maybe not understanding the symbolic significance.

Adding horror elements compromised the cohesiveness of the movie. It was cool to have classic horror tropes and other such references but this does not constitute a good movie.

The twist of Adelaide being switched wasn’t enough of a pay off because there were still foundational questions that were not being answered.

The pay-off shouldn’t be because you without parts of the story. It should have been there the whole time and it becomes an awakening moment. Mystery is because parts of the story is withheld.

General Notes

We know Jordan Peele is an amazing storyteller as seen in Get Out and also Key & Peele Make-a-Wish (S04E06). He knows light and shade, understands tonality and is able to convey feeling.

We wanted Us to be the sort of movie people talk about The Shining about. Everyone knows it’s a good movie but you still want to shout it from the rooftops.

This movie would have been much more interesting from the perspective of Red and underground.

Lupita’s scene will be used to exemplify her ability to convey and draw people in. Draw parallel with Daniel Kaluuya, but this didn’t happen until two thirds of the movie and we were given time to understand his character.

Both Lupita Nyong’o and Toni Collette (Hereditary) gave outstanding performances but the difference was Toni was propped up by the strength of Hereditary’s narrative.

Actors give as much as they can within the vessel they are provided.

Further tether questions

The whole story of the tethered was so fascinating and a deeper dive into this world would have better framed our understanding. Especially as it was the driving force of the movie.

  • How are they tethered and how do they become untethered?
  • When do they start being independent of the original?
  • How do they know to stand in a line and build that wall?
  • How do they know to attack others they aren’t tethered to? If they were revolting against their ‘originals’ how did they start killing others?
  • How did Red orchestrate communicating to these beings?
  • Red was bound to follow Adelaide’s actions. Where does the disconnect happen in the tethering? How can they be fighting each other if they move in the same way?

For Your Reference

Our suggestions on what you should watch in supplement of this movie!

Oti’s picks

The Book of Eli (2010) 1h 58min | Action, Adventure, Drama | 15 January 2010 (USA) Summary: A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.
Countries: USALanguages: English
Orphan Black  | TV Series (2013–2017) 44min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi | TV Series (2013–2017) Summary: A streetwise hustler is pulled into a compelling conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her.
Countries: CanadaLanguages: English

KT’s picks

Hereditary (2018) 2h 7min | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 8 June 2018 (USA) Summary: After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.
Countries: USALanguages: English
Candyman (1992) 1h 39min | Horror, Thriller | 16 October 1992 (USA) Summary: The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster's myth.
Countries: USA, UKLanguages: English
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