Writer-director Jordan Peele’s new movie US came out in March and was instantly a hit. The movie focuses on the main character, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), who as a child experienced traumatic events and now has a family of her own, the Wilsons, husband Gabe, daughter Zora and son Jason.
The movie starts off slow, introducing the backstory of Adelaide, her family, and there is clear signs that Peele wants you to know the Wilson family is upper middle class.
Soon the movie’s plot begins and Peele introduces the “tethered” people, forced to live underground, unknown, and bound to their counterpart on the surface. Red, Adelaide’s counterpart, explains that the tethered were an experiment by some group that ended up failing and being abandoned in underground areas.
They emerge violently from the ground to claim what is theirs and the “horror” part of the film begins. It is impossible to judge the movie US without revealing key plot points, so some spoilers are ahead.
Adelaide’s tethered family infiltrates their house, they are wearing red jumpsuits and are each a creepier version of their counterpart, wielding a scary looking pair of shears. The “ real”
Adelaide asks her counterpart, terrified, “Who are you people?” and in response, her twin says, “We are Americans.”
That line right there gives away the real angle Peele is getting at, the deeper meaning, it’s about the monster in you, that people can be both evil and good, depending on the paths their lives led them through. The movie also has a more subtle note of addressing privilege in America, the tethered as the “underclass” and the above-ground people as the “upper-class”. Whether it’s a racial privilege or class privilege is undetermined.
Overall, the movie was murky, it got caught up in all it’s double meanings and hidden clues. It seems that Peele got so caught up trying to make the movie have a deeper meaning, he forgot the surface level meaning. It wasn’t as much scary as it was confusing, and there were so many hidden meanings that the viewer is left trying to figure them out, rather than watch the movie.
On that note, the visual aspects of the movie were nice and the acting was great, plus there are some humorous moments, but there was just too much double meanings, it lost focus.