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Edward Kivlahan March 27, 2019

From start to finish, Us is a wild, weird, and intense ride. I rate it five stars, it is an amazing thriller. From the writing to the acting and character development, through the cinematography and soundtrack, it was masterfully done. Jordan Peele is a new age Hitchcock.

The trailer was well designed, and it didn’t give away the twists. The marketing played perfectly into the writing of the film. The writing itself was visibly thoughtful and consistent, and the foreshadowing was both effective and subtle. It reflected a careful use of a lot of classic filmmaking devices, notably mirroring and “the smoking gun.” Throughout the film, I noticed hints and items or plot points that were foreshadowed earlier, but often the hints were too subtle to be obvious at the first glance. The amount of clues that are, in hindsight, dead ringers is quite impressive. From offhanded lines to things that were simply odd at first, the volume and quality of foreshadowing is astonishing. Every major plot point is in some way hinted at within the first fifteen minutes, but it all seems disconnected until the last fifteen minutes. Looking back, it feels like Inception, but inside out.

Throughout the whole movie, the acting was excellent. Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong’o show a strong acting chemistry that gave them more room to interact than in Black Panther. Each actor plays two characters, though the relationship between these characters is hard to describe without spoilers. Put simply, they play their own doppelgangers, and the special bond between them is at times they are both completely opposite or completely the same. Each speaking actor shows great range and dedication to their roles throughout the film, as well as the character development that is impressive in a way I haven’t seen many times before. The depth of character shown elevates the viewing experience to a new level.

The level of care in the cinematography is impressive. No scene feels off-balance and the writing and cinematography feel made for each other. The detail in each shot feels as thoughtful as Wes Anderson’s notoriously complex shots, and yet more natural to match Peele’s intended tone. The visual experience of Us is smooth and carries the plot perfectly for critics, film buffs, and casual moviegoers alike.

One thing I noticed, being a film buff, is the recurring use of “I Got Five On It” but not in typical ways every time. The trailer itself features two different versions of the song, and the film has one or two more. The way they manipulate this hip hop classic reminds me of Inception as well, as they manipulated the french opera song “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” for their own purposes as well. The way Us changes the song at each point is a crucial detail about what the mood is during each scene in which it’s played. Though the soundtrack is understated throughout the movie, each song is very clearly on purpose, and some of my favorite inclusions to the soundtrack are hilariously ironic in context.

Overall, Us is an amazing film. I walked out of the theater excited and slightly shaken, but more than anything I am impressed. After Get Out, Jordan Peele had a high bar to meet, and he’s once again set the bar higher. The writing and the acting as well as the cinematography and the soundtrack all came together to make a trippy and thought-provoking experience that I believe is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend watching Us, I rate it five stars.

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