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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk (Spoiler Edition) => Topic started by: FLYmeatwad on March 21, 2019, 09:53:41 PM

Title: Us
Post by: FLYmeatwad on March 21, 2019, 09:53:41 PM
Figure there will be people more raring to go at it than FLY, but seems like spoilers is the 'place to be' since there are two twists (well, one is more of a reveal, the one at the end I figure is the twist) that sort of reframe the film in the moment and then in hindsight.

Personally feel like it would have been more interesting if we don't get the one at the end, just sitting with the idea that the bad good Lupita (who I guess is actually the good bad Lupita) has this inside her all the time and they end up coming out the more the Tethered push her. But maybe it's more in the cinematic tradition to have the twist come out to play.

I will spoiler the next bit, but the reveal that comes midway through, at what I feel is the strongest part of the whole thing (and not just because Timmy H and Ellie M absolutely crush it, and the full on reveal that his boat is named "Byacht'ch"), because I'm going to mention the end of The Invitation from a few years back. Much like at the end of that film, the middle portion here gets to pull out of what could be way more insular. But it actually is able to capitalize on that and see it through since the back half of this becomes much more about the invasion of the Tethered, while in The Invitation we just get that larger threat and it ends. Though, as I write and reflect, maybe it does work better there, certainly more than the ending to this one. Either way, it's cool that it then kind of becomes an apocalypse film for a bit, and it's nice to see Peele stretch his legs because Get Out felt pretty bland throughout. Not sure there's much more to the visuals at parts besides looking cool, but they frame tone, which is when the film succeeds the most.

Scattered thoughts, might ponder on it some more.
Title: Us
Post by: Bondo on March 21, 2019, 09:55:41 PM
Gonna go out on a limb and guess we are going to need this.

When your first film is Get Out, and the trailer for your second is as perfectly tuned as that for Us, expectations are going to be high. The trailer does have the blessing of not giving everything away. While I liked the style displayed in the trailer, I had little idea exactly what it was going for. We find out that the "Us" issue is not limited to this family, but I don't feel like the film ever asserts a clear theme.

My guess going in was that this seemingly upper-middle class black family was being mirrored against a version of themselves as shaded by societal stereotypes that continue to hold them back from true equality. The early monologue of Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o)'s alternate half references them as shadows, which feeds into this kind of interpretation, but her specification of their deprivation and struggle made it seem more a condemnation for well-heeled black families for leaving their needier brothers and sisters behind.

These interpretations are pretty much completely washed away with the introduction of a shadow version of their white family friends, chief among them Kitty (Elisabeth Moss). Suddenly the film isn't really about race at all. As things turn out it appears much more a class uprising, but the origin story revealed late is so confusing I found the metaphor kind of thudded. Even the horror kind of wore me down by the end. It still is a general success, but on a much more standard level than Get Out might have led me to believe. I guess at the start of the year I wouldn't have thought I'd be sitting three months in with Escape Room ranked above Us as horror films go.
Title: Re: Us
Post by: Bondo on March 21, 2019, 10:00:21 PM
Thank you admins, always Johnnys/Janies on the spot!

I guess I am kind of the inverse of FLY in that I found the broadening to be the point where it lost me because it undid the tight themes I thought it was building in favor of much looser themes.
Title: Re: Us
Post by: FLYmeatwad on March 21, 2019, 10:13:30 PM
I kind of agree though, it certainly sacrifices a lot of the thematic weight that it could have/hints at early one when the Tethered are revealed in the friends's house, but I was kind of on the wave length at that point in figuring out that it was less concerned with that. Which, as a whole, is a bummer, but also I'm not even sure what I want because I was pretty glad this thing didn't get as heavy handed and simplistic as Get Out. Or Peele just isn't a great writer, which I think is ultimately where I land. Or he doesn't entirely know what he wants to do, nor should he be expected to carry the torch for all conversations on race in his work, but idk if I'm putting that expectation on him or not.

Either way, as much as it may have undone things and kind of made what came after by the books (I'd argue that a lot before then was too), it gives us the scene of Moss putting on make up in the mirror and her yelling/laughing behind the window, both of which are purely CINECAST!ing amazing. And evil Tim doing the 'too slow' when pretending to help good bad Moss up, which I was all about.
Title: Re: Us
Post by: 1SO on March 22, 2019, 08:46:53 AM
I kept wishing Peele would work smarter, not harder.

The weakest part of Get Out was when it went into full-on horror mode. His strength was in the characters, the suspense created by the mystery and the metaphorical aspect of the story. This one had a good deal of constant suspense, but the more we learned about the Teathered, the more it raised questions instead of intrigue. That's why I'm thinking the more I read about the film and its metaphors (which are not as surface as in Get Out), the more I will probably like the film on that level.

As for the Horror, some of it worked okay and some of it reminded me that this is the person who made Get Out. (Look, I love Horror too, but that doesn't make me an expert at scaring people.) There are a number of moments of dread or anticipation, but no lasting or unforgettable scares that cement a Horror film as one of the greats. The closest thing is Lupita Nyong'o's teathered voice, which surprised me.
Title: Re: Us
Post by: Bondo on March 22, 2019, 09:29:00 AM
So far Iíve read Dana Stevens review and the Vox spoiler article. Especially in the latter when he says his guess at the broader theme it is definitely interesting and works, but I guess I just donít have a lot of patience for sublety. I donít want the La Croix version of the theme, I want the full flavor.
Title: Re: Us
Post by: 1SO on March 22, 2019, 10:52:22 AM
I read the Vox article, which as it went on read like it was grabbing any outside reference it could to explain the endless interpretations they found in the film. I agree that I need the film to be more solid on a surface level first, before all these meanings can be attached to it. Even something as difficult to pin down as 2001 and Eraserhead, have a grounding to what's happening on screen. Us instead raises a lot of questions regarding its core logic, the biggest one probably being the genetic chain created by a soulless tethered producing children with a human partner.

There's also the cheat that if Red has been the mother all this time, her flashback memories of the event is told from her human's point-of-view. I guess this can be explained by the tethered connection to Adelaide, but even at the end we never see the meeting from red's view as if she can only exist through Adelaide's eyes, in which case...

I'm now twisted into a pretzel.
Title: Re: Us
Post by: Junior on March 22, 2019, 03:24:18 PM
Because I like the more supernatural end of horror than I do the thriller side, Us is more my speed than Get Out is. I found this article to be somewhat enlightening on the race side of things:

I still think that this is more on the class tip than anything else, but obviously race intersects with that in interesting ways.
Title: Re: Us
Post by: FLYmeatwad on March 22, 2019, 08:26:56 PM
Forgot to jot this down last night, but my hesitation with this film is that it feels like, once the reveal is out there that it's something that can be 'solved' or has a definitive ending point, which feels limiting. Though I'm not sure this film actually has much supernatural going on, it prods at that, but by the end anything supernatural just becomes scientific. Which is also less interesting to me.
Title: Re: Us
Post by: MartinTeller on April 06, 2019, 10:51:33 PM
I agree with all the criticisms in this thread. I found it scary enough and tense enough and funny enough. But the "twist" is really unnecessary and while it sheds some light on earlier events, it skews others to the point where they just don't make sense. The film could do with less exposition, more ambiguity. As for whatever thematic or metaphorical angles Peele is shooting for, they're too muddled to land with me (although I acknowledge I may not be the audience for this).

Some great moments, but in the end not as satisfying as his debut.
Title: Re: Us
Post by: Beavermoose on April 08, 2019, 01:37:44 AM
I agree with most of the comments. I feel like it really loses steam after they reveal the bigger picture. I guess I was expecting more explicit satirical subtext after Get Out and this goes completely the other way.