starring Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker
written and directed by Jordan Peele
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Get Out was an instant classic that appeared at the spearhead of a new blaxploitation movement. It introduced terms and concepts into the lexicon ("Now you're in the sunken place"). It attacked race relations with intelligence and, save one tonal slip at the end, maintained an almost unbearable tension throughout. Its signature image of a black face, frozen in terror, the path of a single tear tracing its way down one cheek--you see it three times, on three different characters in the film--encapsulates the black experience: outrage held forever in abeyance, voices stolen by the ruling culture, along with lives and potential lives. Get Out won its writer-director Jordan Peele accolades and the type of laurels (the next Spielberg!, the next Hitchcock!) that, the last time they were handed out (to one M. Night Shyamalan), did the recipient no real favours. And where Get Out asked the question of what Peele's limits were, Us answers it immediately--and decisively enough that it feels almost cruel. Us has a couple of vaguely interesting ideas it fails to develop, a few set-pieces it fails to pay off, and a central metaphor--literal upper and lower classes being tethered together along some socially-engineered psychic conduit--that it has no real idea what to do with. The two choices for any conversation about Us, then, are to continue treating Peele like a holy, anointed savant/prophet until he makes The Happening (to the extent that Us is not already The Happening, let's face it), or to say that Us is at best disappointing and at worst just plain bad.