This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
JORDAN’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Yeah, I’m never getting an Alexa.
I had many many thoughts on this film that just needed a spoiler review. I will begin though by saying that Jordan Peele is a master of tension. This movie is incredibly tense and is in the direction and execution of it. I believe that things are always much scarier when in the distance because you just get the hint of suspense and then you’re heart begins racing. A home invasion will always be scary to me, I sweated through my shirt during certain scenes of this film. It could just be that theater was very hot but I choose to believe it’s because Peele is a good filmmaker.
The acting is amazing in this film as well. The entire family is great with Lupita Nyong’o being the standout. She is so good at playing both roles and making me believe that there’s two of them talking to each other. Winston Duke is also great as Gabe because he plays it like such a fatherly dad’s dad. Just goofy and the comic relief of the film. However the humor worked in this film, at least to me. It is haunting though in that one scene when you just hear him scream in agony offscreen, Peele you evil genius. The kids were also really good in this, they got talent and were super creepy in their evil roles.
I think the point of the film can all be summed up in the opening scene. When the dad is playing the carnival game with young Lupita and he asks if they should stop playing and settle for a lesser prize or keep going at a chance for a better one. She settles with the lesser one which a thriller t-shirt. She could try and go for the better one but she settles and that’s what Peele is screaming at us the entire runtime. We can do better as a society, try for the better prize, help the homeless but we don’t because we settle. We’ll do a fifteen minute charity event so everyone can see the people who donated and then just go back to our lives with our fancy boats and Alexa devices. Even though we don’t need those things.
It’s a good message that’s delivered by this very strong metaphor throughout. However, as strong as the first two acts were, when it came to the third one, the film started to lose me. I figured out the twist that they switched places, ten minutes into the film. However, I assumed that it wouldn’t go that way because it just seemed very obvious and sophomoric. It did happen though and I was shocked because it’s kind of lame. The Simpsons did the same twist years ago on a Treehouse of Horror. When Bart had an evil twin but then it turned out in the end that Bart was the evil twin.
Also yes, I get it, I get it, I get it. Supposed to show that people are all the same and if put in a certain situation or setting, wed act the same way that we judge other people for. However, on a story level it’s just kind of lame. Also the explanation for who the tethered actually were was kind of lame. Dumb Government cloning experiment thing like what? Just felt kind of forced and lazy and weak. It’s a very strong metaphor but just looking at the literal story, it doesn’t hold up. Yeah, a message can be good but I am not satisfied if the movie is only a message. There’s got to be some of story. The story in this, was just a bit lame. Might as well not even explain what they are if it’s that lame.
Same issue I had with his previous film. Lots of good buildup but then the film just doesn’t really know where to go after that. Again, good message but with all these clever Easter eggs and set up and such, the story lacks conclusion I feel. Just didn’t end strong for me. The dance fight between Lupita and Lupita was excellently shot with the fantastic score. However all the exposition about why was just lackluster to me. Overall though, I really enjoyed the film. Lots of good filmmaking, lots of good acting, some crazy tense atmosphere. I just didn’t fall in love with it like other people seem to be doing. Another solid entry from Peele just like Get Out was.