Jordan Peele’s latest nightmare is a masterpiece
Jordan Peele has proven himself to be not only a comedy star, but also a profound filmmaker. His directorial debut of the horror hit “Get Out” has given him the Oscar, and he deserved it. Then, last year, he produced Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansmann.” Both these movies he has entered the fight of racism in the Trump Era.
This year, on a whole other level, he wrote, produced, and directed “Us,” a hit at SXSW, which is not only his best work to date, but also it’s the best movie I’ve seen so far in 2019. It’s a horror movie that triggers your senses, and leaves you at the edge of your seat, hoping for a miracle.
The movie reunites Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke from last year’s Oscar-winning “Black Panther” as Adelaide and Gabe Wilson, both of whom take their two kids (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) to their summer home, near the Santa Cruz beach. That same place has traumatized Adelaide since she was a kid (newcomer Madison Curry) when she wanders off from her parents (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Anna Diop) and into a house of mirrors, where she literally sees herself. No reflection.
Later that night, they suffer a power outage, and discover a family outside the driveway. And that family begins to attack this family, because they’re evil versions of themselves with red suits and scissors. A fancy word to describe them are doppelgängers. They literally have to kill themselves in order to (dare I say it) “Get Out” alive.
“Us” takes many great risks, and keeps you laughing, shaking in your seats, and shocked at how it all turns out. It seems that each year, Jordan Peele keeps topping himself with one masterpiece after another, and this is a perfect example. It really clinches it.
Nyong’o gives one of the best horror movie performances I’ve seen, as both the good and evil versions. Her emotions are triggered, her dialogue is sharp, and her acting on both transitions keep things rolling. Duke also provides a comic relief character as the dad in the ways he adds humor and honest in his good version. And the kids are given fears and skills by Joseph, Alex, and Curry. In fact, they all possess the qualities of Danny Lloyd in “The Shining.” And you also get some interesting small roles from Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker as their friends, who deal with their evil selves, too.
The art direction is drawn with such radiance that it matches Mike Gioulakis’ cinematography. And reuniting with Peele is his “Get Out” composer Michael Abels, who scores the movie with riveting notes, and even alters Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It” with chills. And the conclusion is so unbelievable that I can’t tell you what it is. All I know is this is Peele’s own “Shining,” and I loved every moment of it.