This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
piragua!’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Us is a metaphorical masterpiece.
I love any Benito Cereno ass story with a reveal that makes you read twice. I felt like any time you have this kind of twist, you're forced to go back and reread and in doing that you practice living another perspective, which in this story I thought was perfect for its larger message.
I'm pretty taken aback by how many people came at this with logistics critiques. Us is a movie that builds such a powerful and truly disturbing metaphor for poverty. The way it reveals that Adelaide and Red had equal chances of turning out okay or oppressed simply because of opportunity and resources is truly masterful.
Since much of the violence is offscreen, so too is the terror of the details in how these tethereds have survived. How do they get the jumpsuits? The gloves? The scissors? We're supposed to believe these tunnels are everywhere? I'd argue that leaving this movie with confusion and questions isn't a bad thing. It's part of the whole point!
We're supposed to be left with questions and we're supposed to be left short with answers because we're supposed to be confronted with our frustrations at that. Simply because not enough of us (Us!) are asking these same questions of people in poverty in real life. How do homeless people get the clothes they wear? The tools they use? The food they eat? What about the incarcerated? If you yet again come up with no answers to those questions, you too are unsatisfied and frustrated and enraged, right? And isn't that the horrible part? Us explains all its mechanisms away to madness because that's what American classism has wrought. A society with tent cities and detention centers and prisons is absolutely mad.
So if it's unsatisfying that we don't see whatever tethered factory workers making tethered clothing, that's part of the exercise. Housed people cannot tell homeless stories. We're left with the guesswork of imagination and that is the horror.
Which is why it absolutely guts me when Red first speaks. Opening with "Once upon a time..." speaks to her being traumatized from a young fairytale age, but it also reminds us that storytelling is the power of the privileged. Everything this movie does in its narrative is exponentially fruitful in its metaphor.
How did Red organize an uprising when they can't speak? Well how did the Haitians do it against the French?
I'm so ): at ppl who can't believe this underground world could exist but can absolutely believe this woman cut herself open to deliver her own baby born of rape. People today and people in history have survived all kids of horrors, and like the movie shows there are enough untold stories to wrap the world around on itself.
And lastly, the reaction to this movie having a predictable twist. That I get like okay you've seen more horror movies than me, awesome. I'm sorry you did not have as much fun and joy as I did. But Jordan Peele is a horror savant. He has Get Out brain. He has Key & Peele's Continental Breakfast brain. I have no doubt in my regular person life that Peele thinks this twist is predictable too. Because he simply has too much knows-his-shit energy. Which leaves me to believe that in spite of knowing this is a done-before ending, we got it anyway because the value it brought to the allegory was too powerful. Which I thoroughly believe it is.
This movie just leaves me continually impressed and blown away and humbled.
PS How do they get the jumpsuits? To quote one of my favorite Drag Race entrances, prison honey. Tethered prisons.
Y'all see these fuckin layers????