Us ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

"Throw off your fears, let your heart beat freely, at the sign that a new time is born."

I love a lot of things about this movie, even more the second go 'round, but I really love Peele's willingness to play his cards early. Like when Jason put the toy ambulance in the doorway to keep it from locking behind him, I thought, "Okay, I've seen a movie before, I know how this works. This ambulance-keeping-the-door-ajar thing is gonna come back in the climax." But where another filmmaker might wait until the final act, the big pay-off, to reward that set-up, Peele just kind of uses it right away, the very first time it makes sense to. Most of the (many) Chekov's guns get fired in that very first set piece (mysteries, like, "why did the opening credits have bunnies?", remain, but the stuff that set off the "this will be used later to fight the Tethered" alarm in my mind was pretty much used right away), leaving me feeling similarly unsure what should come next as the characters themselves are.

Anyway, some scattered thoughts:

- Related to "playing your cards early" is how the "twist" with Adelaide being Red and vice versa is more or less revealed so early. I pretty much knew (as close as I could get without direct confirmation) once Lupita made that huffing noise after killing the twin. I always like when filmmakers don't try to hide their twists and just leave them out in the open like that.

- If there's anything I don't like about this movie, it's that almost nothing after can live up to how good the stuff between the home invasion and killing the Tyler family's doubles is.

- The thing that does live up to those scenes is the double (quadruple, really) Lupita dance. Both times I've seen this, as soon as "Red" starts dancing, even knowing it was coming this time, I started smiling ear to ear and thinking "this is amazing!!!!!"

- I have a few ideas on what I think this is """about""" to the extent that I think it's about anything/any one thing (that is, I think, only kinda) but in thinking about the duality of the Tethered and the role they serve in defining meanings within their mirror selves, I kept thinking of that part of Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the American Imagination that talks about blackness creating meaning in American literature, that "blackness can be evil and protective, rebellious and forgiving, fearful and desirable—all of the self-contradictory features of the self." I don't know if that quote was on Peele's mind at all while making this, but it kind of came to me halfway through this watch and wouldn't leave. Do with it what you will.

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