TJP’s review published on Letterboxd :
The theme of Us is the same theme of Saving Private Ryan. We’ll circle back to this but I have to cut out some paper dolls first.
At many point through the movie I thought that the girls had switched but during the reveal I was truly chilled. It was not Red who brought death to the above grounders. It was Adelaide who plotted and brought death to her old world with the blunt force of the shadow people.
So the question becomes what was Jordan Peele trying to say with this piece of art. I think it speaks to the unintended consequences of burying truths. We all do it, as we see shockingly at three points through the movie. But is he making a case for the caste system of many cultures? I don’t think so but this could be miscommunicated through the ambiguity of the ending. The truth is that when you bury something it can die or grow.
In Us the misplaced beings lead to an imbalance that resulted in the apocalypse that was the ending. But why? Neither 10 year old girl had done anything wrong during the point pf the switch. But unlike The Sixth Sense, the twist was only a small part of the tapestry woven by Peele. As we she the smile grow on her face only Jason and Red know the secret. But what does it matter? Half the world is dead (that makes the second Lupita movie ending with half the world dead - damn!) and the final question remains. The question is the same question that Private Ryan asks his wife. “Tell me I lived a good life.” Red did live a good life.
Now a few ideas on Peele’s craft. It’s impeccable. He knows the genre so he plays with genre tropes which is especially important in horror. But like I said with Tarantino, awareness of the genre can lead to this hyper-genre where the elements are so well understood that they are pulled into hyper focus. But the craft shows through beat when Peele only touches on the logic of exposition. It doesn’t make sense but no fable spent time explaining why animals talk or how the man became a fish. Or in this case how humans failed to develop language in the worldly sense.
Many have said they need to see it again, I do not but I would like to discuss this movie at length with Joseph Campbell if he were still alive.
Oh man, how could I forget the attention to language and diction. A mark of mastery of craftsmanship.