"I Got 5 On It": The Top Five Reasons Why 'Us' Is a Modern Day Masterpiece
'Us,' (2019) is Jordan Peele's 'Late Registration' (2005). Like Kanye West did over a decade ago, Peele avoids the sophomore jinx with equal measures of bravura and aplomb.
5. The "Hands Across America" Idea Resonates
The idea to juxtapose a small family unit with entire swaths of the United States stands out as a monumental thought. Peele conceived this notion as a way of communicating the ironic disconnect that the campaign became. People didn’t commit less crime, folks still went to work and school, and everyone wished that Purell had been invented before 1988 to sanitize their paws.
Hands Held... Don't let go.
4. The emergency vehicles in particular, as well as the various other vehicles, bring profundity.
From the toy emergency vehicle to the helicopters to the boats, these modes of transportation provide symbolism. The ambulances clearly mark the notion of wellness, and the rush to safety. The boats generate the idealism of wealth and status, without bringing in thoughts on the fallacy that is privilege. The helicopters represent a watchful eye over the landscape. The station wagon and the Land Rover stand in stark contrast from one another as do the boats. Gabe’s water vessel is crude and ridiculous while Josh’s mini-yacht recalls days of money.
Gabe was on a boat!
3. The prison/psychiatric ward where the doppelgängers live is the perfect metaphor for America’s mental and carceral crisis.
With rabbits hopping around (a sign of fertility, no less), the chambers underneath the house of mirrors offer a glimpse into a world of forgotten people. The language-less many and the lone Red/Adalaide who can barely form words, show how important it is for Americans to strike a dialogue with one another. The deleterious conditions of the human beings living amongst the Lagomorpha, is like the sideshow geeks from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They had to hunt down chickens in this case, skin them and eat the flesh raw. They develop manic tendencies that would make a freak cringe. Folks become shut up in mental institutions, or locked behind prison walls, some of them innocent of the crimes that they allegedly perpetrated. That’s what those jumpsuits stand for in this instance. The red is close to orange and used as device to separate the free Americans from those imprisoned or committed. The scissors represent the break between the "real" people and the Tethered.
2. The "kill whitey" idea only makes sense if they are actual monsters. And this time, like in 'Get Out' (2017), the family is wretched.
The Tylers are not virtuous and selfish but vicious and self-absorbed. The rampage by the doppelgängers of the Tylers brought about by themselves demonstrates the carnage of white on white crime. The instance where the Wilsons kill the white doubles is a sign of the unity that blacks and whites can have in this country. The bullshit "whitey must die" mantra found in literature and cinema is forever laid to rest with this film. By self-preservation, the Wilsons are able to kill the vicious white Tylers after the real ones are exterminated. This is the example of the "black saviors" that would’ve rescued them had they not already been killed. Zora’s golf club and Jason’s ornate statuette also call to mind wealth and social advancement.
The Cuffs of White Oppression
1. Adelaide/Red is one bad mother.
The ability to transform into a full-fledged human being allows Adelaide/Red to traverse through years of being without language. Soon, she discovers the spoken word, among other skills, especially with a fireplace poker. She is a woman warrior slashing, diving, striking, and sustaining injuries all while remaining beautiful. This poker calls back the burned Pluto and also is another item which reflects class and status. But Adelaide/Red slays herself and through a moment of extended exposition, she/they/we get to understand the true meaning of all the commotion. This illustrates the much needed individualism that is slowly dying in America. In the ambulance when Adelaide/Red turns to her son with a simple grin, she is letting him know that Red is Adelaide and Adelaide is Red, and always has been.