Before we begin, I want to start by talking to people who (perhaps after a few too many sweeties) have decided that Jordan Peele IS THE NEW HITCHCOCK!!!! Firstly, the last time someone was compared to one of the greatest directors of all time, we got lumbered with Shamalan.
Secondly, Mr. Peele has directed 2 films and whilst they have been very good, the third film (much like your third album) is the sound barrier. You have your whole life to create our first album/film, 18 months for your second and the third discovers if your here to stick around or simply condemned to being an ‘almost’ for the rest of your career.
Thirdly, you guys do know that Hitchcock made bad films, right? And, I’m not talking about films like Vertigo which started badly and are now regarded as better films than Citizen Kane but actual, bad, movies. Seriously, no Hitchock fan defends 1939’s Jamaica Inn which in 1978, film critic Michael Medved gave a place in his book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.
Ok, I think I’m done. Putting my toys back in my pram and 200 words in i’m going to talk about Us. The latest film from the first Jordan Peele which seems to insinuate that he’s as big a fan of old films as I am (I won’t say which for fear of spoilers) but it was published in 1895, came to the big screen in 1960 (and still holds up today) and was terribly mutilated in 2002 by a complete hack.
But, dragging myself again back to Us and it looks at first like your bog standard home invasion movie except then it isn’t and… it seems clear that Mr. Peele wants to say something but I have no idea what. Where Get Out (despite having a truly disappointing ending) at least got it’s point and message across. At times, Us almost seems to resemble a piece of performance art. It’s got some great images and moments, the plot seems to hold together after it’s left turn at about the hour mark and were the Acadamy not eternally biased against horror Lupita Nyong’o would be a shoe in for at least an Oscar nomination if not the award itself.
Which is nice, as her husband (played by Winston Duke) grated on me slightly. I like Home Alone references as much as the next guy but there’s a time and place for them which I doubt is in a film trying to scare me more than watching whats happening with Brexit.
Which is another issue, the first half of the film is creepy, building up suspense and tension before devolving into your bog standard house invasion flick and then…. But I’ve said too much already.
What I can say is that the film misses the opportunity for tension as our family get split up regularly thus giving us the perfect opportunity for a bit of the old ‘is that you or the murderer in disguise’ that 1982’s The Thing did so well. A golden opportunity that the film shows literally no interest in.
Look, there is a lot of good here- there were a few moments that made me smile, a few that were creepy, the soundtrack was great and yes, if bloods your thing then there is plenty of that on display but this feels like a film made by a man with so many ideas that someone needed to get him to calm down and focus. There are no issues here that another rewrite or two wouldn’t fix but I can imagine that all the film theorists are going to have a field day with this one. I really liked a fight towards the end which reminded me of the fight at the end of Annihilation which can only ever be a good thing and I can imagine a lot of people finding a lot in here that’s scary, but for me this is a good film when it could have been a great one.
Because Us is frustrating. The acting is good (in one case great), it has a whole treasure chest full of ideas when maybe putting one or two of them back would have resulted in a more cohesive whole. It’s maybe ten minutes too long and I saw the ending coming about ten minutes in.
But theses are errors that I think have been made by someone still mastering their craft and when Mr. Peele does master his craft I truly believe that he will be one of the great directors of our time. I already can’t wait for his third film.
One last quick thing. You can’t raise an entire society on rabbit.
My Score- See It