US – U.S.
After all the hype and build up for Jordan Peele’s latest horror movie, US, I couldn’t wait to go and see it. I quickly booked tickets for me and my hubby to be to go after work last night (Friday 22nd March). It was worth the wait.
Anyone who has watched Get Out will understand the complexity of his work and the subtle genius of the man. US was no different. It is an ingenious film, well executed with layer after layer to peel through of complexity and hidden meanings.
US is a film about, well, us. It’s a disturbing look behind the curtain towards the dark inner workings of society. The title even has double meaning, being also about the state of America – “We’re Americans”. Jordan Peele saying that he was inspired by “the state of this country” and that “We’re a country that is afraid of the outsider”.
“There’s a double meaning to everything, this movie’s about duality” – Jordan Peele
‘The Tethered’ the shadows, are what’s left of a government experiment to create a more pliable population. Copies were made of people in an attempt to control the person above ground via a psychic link. The experiment failed and the ‘others’ were left abandoned below the surface. They themselves became the controlled, living their lives as their above ground counterparts did, not knowing why or how, but just existing. It is a life of slavery and isolation.
Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) was left traumatized after a childhood incident at Santa Cruz beach in which she encountered ‘herself’ in a hall of mirrors. She returns years later with her family on vacation, only for her doppelganger to show up again, but this time with copies of her husband and two children.
We find out during the course of the movie that this is in fact happening everywhere. There has been an uprising of the tethered and they are killing their counterparts, or anyone who gets in their way. I loved the symbolism of the scissors that all the tethered use as weapons, cutting the ties with their masters.
For Adelaide and her family, it becomes a fight to the death for each of them as they face both their counterparts, and their deepest fears.
The concept of US is our inner selves, or our other selves – our other face. The ones we don’t show, the repressed versions of ourselves. We spend so much of our lives conforming and ‘fitting in’, obsessing over material objects, and acting in ways we wouldn’t normally behave if we were with different people. It’s a film that pierces through the shallow veil of reality, taking swipes at both government and capitalism.
All the central characters have issues with themselves, Gabe (Winston Duke) wishes he had the things his more wealthy friend does, even going as far as to buy a boat just to say he has one. Kitty (Elizabeth Moss) showing off her plastic surgery to stay young looking, she wishes she had been an actress. Zora (Shahidi Wright Joseph) doesn’t want to be a runner – her parents are talking Olympics of course. I loved Zora’s double – she was a runner. I felt it was a very ‘coming of age’, ‘coming into your own’ type of scene for Zora when she was forced to run as fast as she could away from her doppelganger – running away from running.
Another swipe at Capitalism was the references towards the Bible passage, Jeremiah 11:11.
Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. – Jeremiah 11:11
A homeless man is seen holding a sign saying “Jeremiah 11:11” early on in the film, and again later after he had been killed by his doppelganger. The clock in the house also hits 11:11pm, just before the doppelganger family strike.
The context of this particular passage is about worshiping false gods. In modern day society those false idols are things such as money and objects. We will have to answer for our sins and our abandonment of society. It’s all on us. We will, and we are, causing the demise of the human race.
The ending of the film itself contains a major twist – I won’t mention it here as I want to leave you some surprised. What I will say is that it’s a big one, and it explains a lot about the uprising.
US is a sinister look inside of our lives. It makes you sit back and think, take stock of what you hold dear and what you consider to be valuable and necessary. It’s a deep exploration of government, capitalism, society, and our fears of control, of losing control. Who really holds the keys to our lives? Is it us? Or is someone else pulling the strings?
I definitely need to see this film a few more times. I’m confident that I have missed plenty of content. It’s a very complex film, one you really need to focus all of your attention on. The more you think about it, the more terrifying it becomes.