US Movie Review: I Have No Clue What I Just Watched
SPOILERS: If you haven’t already seen the movie “US”, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
If you're looking for an in-depth analysis of Jordan Peele's "US" then you've come to the wrong place. I'm sorry; it's been four days since I've seen that movie, and I'm still scratching my head. Not only that, I can't sleep at night. I've had to double up on my anxiety meds, and I've spent every night on my couch, which puts me in perfect eye sight of all points of ingress into my apartment. Who’s that peeping in my window? POW! Nobody now!
After frantically scouring the web for answers regarding the plot of this movie, I'm just going to be 100% honest with you: I have no clue what the fuck I just watched. I have so many questions. Who created the tethers? Nobody realized they weren’t down there that entire time? Where did the bunnies come from? What black mother allowed her black son to marry a black woman who doesn’t have any rhythm? Wouldn’t she have been outed the first time they went to church and she clapped off beat? What happens to the tethered now? Are they just going to stand in a line across the U.S. like some fucked up version of a daisy chain until the end of days? What is the Wilson family going to do now? Why was Winston Duke so thick in those boxers? Are there tethered in other countries? Does Beyonce have a tethered? Is she still fine? Oh shit, does this exist in the same universe as “Get Out”? Is Jordan Peele building his own multi-verse? You see, I have QUESTIONS:
Don't get me wrong; I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but I'm still struggling to understand the hidden meanings of a lot of shit that happened. So instead of proposing theories about the movie, I'm just going to list a few things that I know to be true:
1) Lupita N'yongo was fantastic as both Adelaide and Red. Her performance was Oscar worthy, and in a world where women have struggled to lead horror films, she did the damn thing. Her performance was superb, and you can tell that she put a lot of work into developing both characters. She recently stated in a People article that Red's raspy voice was inspired by a real life condition called spasmodic dysmorphia. And on my Twitter timeline, I saw someone mention that even her stance and posture as Adelaide is similar to those who have been dancers their entire life. She put in WORK, and she better get all of the professional accolades that she deserves for this performance.
2) The soundtrack is phenomenal and is certainly a contender for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. That fucked up opera song in the beginning with the kids singing and the bunnies everywhere was the exact moment where I should have grabbed my purse and exited the theater. It was creepy and sinister in a way reminiscent of horror films from the 1980s. This song combined with the warped version of “I Got 5 On It” was the perfect suspenseful track needed to force a shiver down my spine and make me wary of things to come. The score matched the pacing of the movie, and it enhanced what little I was able to see while peeking through my fingers.
3) Jordan Peele smoked a lot of weed while writing this movie. There's no way in hell you can tell me that he wasn't smoking the stickiest of the ickiest while developing this screenplay. That weed was probably harvested in the Hindu Kush, blessed by a witch doctor, and aged to perfection over 10 years. No one comes up with something this crazy while sober, not even Shonda Rhimes (and she's the person that invented Huck, the Red toolbox, and B613). I applaud his ability to hide Easter Eggs within his films and create a product that makes people leave the theater questioning every single frame of the film. It frustrates the hell out of me, but I applaud it.
4) The movie at its core, in my opinion, is about us being our own worst enemy. Every person on the planet is constantly in a battle with the person they see in the mirror, and we will all beat up on ourselves worse than any other person can. We all have dark thoughts and feelings in our mind that we don't like to talk about. We avoid/block it out as much as possible. We try to pretend that we don’t have those "imp of the perverse" moments, but it's very hard to lie to ourselves; even harder to outrun ourselves. This is best evidenced by the fact that the tethers knew every single thing about their Earthly counterparts. They even knew where the fucking hide-away key was! How often do we lie to ourselves to explain some of our inappropriate behaviors? Create elaborate explanations to justify our “evil” thoughts and feelings? Or try not to think too hard about something we’ve said or done in the past lest the guilt eat us alive? Now think about what you would do if you had to look in the mirror and confront alllllll of those things. That’s why people go to therapy, right?
5) Mental health plays an important role in this movie. From what I gathered, it's a commentary on how the United States and the Pharmaceutical Industry is trying to create a nation of puppets that can barely function without drugs. The stumbling around without souls, mindless banging against walls, and all of the other unconscious behaviors displayed by the tethers is not farfetched. I mean, kids are running around eating tide pods. If that ain't some tethered shit, I don't know what it is. They want us to be “asleep” so that they can continue to run the world without interference. They want to use drugs and the "fluoride in the water" to dim our minds and our bodies. Remember what Red said, "We are Americans." Talk about shook. So is this what happens, when you stay woke?
5) Do we even know ourselves? At the end of the movie, Adelaide remembers that she is actually the doppelganger. She choked out the original Adelaide, handcuffed her to a bunk bed, returned to the surface to take her place, and blocked the fuck out of the associated memories. The ease with which the young doppelganger made this decision made wonder what we're all capable of when our backs are against the wall and the wall is against our back. What are we willing to do to secure our "freedom?” The doppelganger was given the sky for 2.5 seconds and learned enough within those seconds to decide to switch places with Adelaide. Later on, Red clearly ready to risk it all to get back was stolen from her. She even trained and raised an army of killing machines to go to the surface in Formation (no Beyonce). We can all say that we will or won't do certain things, but we don't really know how we're going to feel until we’re faced with these kinds of decisions. Just think about it. How would you feel if you were walking on this planet, happy as can be (probably taking your life for granted) and then someone comes in, forces you underground to eat a Jenny Craig diet of Peter Cottontail and Bugs Bunny while someone else lives your life? You have no control over what happens to you including who you sleep with at night, the amount of children you do or don’t have, and what you do on a daily basis. Would you rise up and try to take back what's yours no matter how many people you have to kill? I can't say that I wouldn't.
I’m sure this article is not giving you the philosophical answers you’re looking for, but it’s just my two cents. If you've seen the movie, please drop your thoughts below.
P.S. Am I the only person who sees parallels between Neo from the Matrix and Red?
PSS. I’m pretty sure that Jordan Peele needs to cut Derek Blanks, the photographer, a check for inspiring this film. Let’s not forget his infamous Alter Ego photoshoots on the Real Housewives…