Culture

Four films for the price of one: “Us” tackles wide range of issues

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Lupita Nyong’o as protagonist Adelaide Wilson in “Us”

Story by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of imdb.com

Jordan Peele’s “Us”—his second directorial venture after the 2017 critical and commercial hit “Get Out”—opened in theatres Friday, March 12 and should be an even bigger success.  It might even spawn a franchise.

The film creates a universe where our world has a parallel world with an identical double for each person.  But this parallel world is situated underground, and life there is incomparably harsher than life in ours. The two worlds approach each other in a house of mirrors in Santa Cruz, and a young girl is traumatized when, in the opening sequence, she encounters her own double among the mirrors in 1986.  The girl grows up to be our protagonist Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o). Her double, Red, leads the doubles from the underground in a violent, global revolution against our world while Adelaide is back in Santa Cruz with her husband and two children for vacation.

The revolution’s blueprint is that each inhabitant of our world would be murdered by his or her own double—with scissors, which ensures enough gore for the film to qualify as a horror film (more specifically, a slasher film).  On the other hand, the film also involves Adelaide taking control and fighting back, which means the show also becomes a superhero film.

Like “Get Out,” “Us” too addresses a social issue.  However, what it addresses is not race, but rather class, with Red detailing in a speech how difficult her life has been in every aspect next to Adelaide’s life.  Yet its statement about the problem of class is complex, what with the underground world rising in bloody revolution, but the revolution being the antagonist of the film.

And Peele makes room for yet a fourth level to the film:  The parallel world consists of a unique double for each inhabitant of our world, exists underground, and approaches our world in a house of mirrors, which lets you watch the film as a classic psychological thriller, where each person’s  underground double is his or her own repressed id. The sequences showing the underground world have a distinct feel of the surreal to match the psychological reading.

Lupita Nyong’o brings a brilliant performance that shows growth even beyond her well-received earlier work in “12 Years a Slave” in 2013 and “Black Panther” last year.  Oh, and there is a twist ending in the film’s last shot that leaves open the door to a sequel, and Peele has even hinted at that possibility himself in an interview with polygon.com.  Go check out the first movie of what could be a cool new franchise.

Yashowanto GhoshYashowanto Ghosh is a senior with a major in English with a writing emphasis and a minor in Japanese. Jasho is also an alumnus of Aquinas (B.A. German ’11, B.A. Communications ’17).

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