Review of Us

The Tethering of Classes in Jordan Peele’s Us by Cherish Pierre-Louis

Jordan Peele’s Us has taken the media by storm perhaps more than his debut blockbuster film Get Out. Peele’s use of satire throughout the film leaves the audience to feel one out of two things: Enlightened or Confused?
- The movie Us begins with a young Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) peering at a tv screen that displays the Hands Across America campaign in the late 80’s, when approximately 6.5 million people held hands across the United States for fifteen minutes.

Jordan Peele uses a memorable event in the United States and creates a film with the abbreviation and gives the audience migraines. He shows us the irony in unity in a world where our President is Donald Trump. There is a scene where Adelaide’s doppelganger s Red tells Adelaide in Us that they are “Americans ,Tethered together”. But is there more to it than that?
- The idea of being tethered is repeated all throughout the film. Red tells Adelaide that they are “tethered together” numerous times. Besides the tethering being seen in the Hands Across America Campaign, there are other moments where the tethering is emphasized.

Red refers to herself and her people as “Shadows.” Shadows are soulless and dark. They are our outlines but what makes them truly shadows? Red, dressed in a red jumpsuit and wielding golden scissors, explains to the audience that they were created by a powerful faction to control the population, but the project is abandoned and so are the doppelgangers. They are forced to fend for themselves in abandoned underground tunnels and copy every single movement made by those on earth above.

If we were to compare Peele’s film to modern day civilization, we could see the “shadows” as the less fortunate. The idea of one group of people being above another is shown literally in Us; we see it amongst our people as well. Those who are fortunate live their lives in ignorance and bliss while those that are unfortunate must live off their scraps. They must get the bud of all the decisions made by the fortunate.

Another identification of the “tethered” might be those who are incarcerated today. This theory was taken from the fact that the doppelgangers are adorned in orange jumpsuits and are living someplace where they are boxed in. Those incarcerated also connect with the ideology of the “forgotten” in Jordan Peele’s Us.

Jordan Peele’s film set social media on fire. Fans were enraptured with the usage of Jeremiah 11:11 all throughout the movie. “Therefore, thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them”. This biblical verse explains Jordan Peele’s breakdown of Us. Peele tells Empire’s Chris Hewitt that the film is about the monster within us. The idea is that the hero is simultaneously the villain in this film.

The film’s soundtrack further intensifies the idea of the conflict with the self. In the beginning if the movie we hear Janelle Monae’s “I Like That,” Minnie Riperton’s “Les Fleur” and “I Got 5 on It” by Luniz. These songs play on Adelaide and Gabe’s ride to their vacation home, and Adelaide snaps her fingers to the song, off key. The last scene of the movie where Adelaide goes toe-to-toe with Red is the most chilling of all. We realize that the tethered has no rhythm and that Red is not in fact a part of the tethered. The tethered remix to “I Got 5 on It” plays in the background of their encounter. This composition is composed by Michael Abel and features Michael Marshall. The orchestral track gave the film a haunting and unforgettable effect.

According to Slate______, Composer Michael Abel’s goal with the track list was to try playing instruments that don’t belong together, creating a sense of dissonance that speaks to the scenes where the tethered fight those they are tethered to. This helps to amplify the horror and the sense of violence within the film. A true horror, thriller masterpiece.