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« RIP Agnès Varda | Main | How has March been for you? »
Friday
Mar292019

I've been obsessing over this shot in "Us"

by Nathaniel R

Not sure if there's an audience out there for a return of our Hit Me With Your Best Shot series but Jordan Peele's horror smash Us would certainly be a worthy candidate for the treatment. Lately I've been obsessing over this particular image (above) in which Red (Lupita Nyong'o) has handcuffed Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o) to her own coffee table. It's not just the slow upsetting crack of the glass, or Lupita's stunning dual performance...

It's not just the 'what happens now' narrative punch or those omnipresent terrifying scissors (which, spoiler alert, have yet to actually kill or draw blood at this point in the movie but you know they will). It's all of those things plus the lighting, framing, and the ingenuity and calibre of the visual effects. They're the best kind of effects, the kind that you don't even clock while they're happening but react to only as a juicy narrative or emotional moment. We're a long way from split screens for "twin" effects in the cinema!

How did they do that? It's Lupita x 3, being both literally and figuratively mirrored in the same frame.

In the end I don't think Us is Get Out's equal for a few narrative and thematic reasons. That said it's a pretty damn good time at the movies and really fun to read opinions about (and not just here though that's why we shared two reviews with you from Tony at SXSW & Chris when the movie hit theaters).

Ascending auteur Jordan Peele didn't actually bring that many of his team from his Get Out debut over into his sophomore effort but the new collaborators are doing stellar work. That's particularly true in the areas of visual effects, production design (Ruth De Jong, Emmy nominated recently for the revival of Twin Peaks), costume design (Kym Barrett, one of the most overdue designers out there in terms of Oscar - she's never been nominated despite iconic contributions to movies like Romeo + JulietThe Matrix and now the red jumpsuits of Us), and cinematography (Mike Gioulakis, a relative new DP but he's already lensed It Follows, Split, Glass, and Us so he's definitely an artist to watch... particularly if he gets rich opportunities outside of the horror genre and also aces them.)

What image from Us are you still thinking about a week later?

 

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Reader Comments (19)

For me, a line of dialogue is sticking with me. When the dad points at the son, and the son says something like "when you point at someone, there's 3 fingers pointing back at you." And, the dad corrects him saying it is actually four fingers. Keep thinking about that.

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCorey

@Corey

Three fingers pointing back is a cliche. Are you unfamiliar with it?

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

@/3rtful

I'm very familiar with it. I just liked the way it was used.

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCorey

Obviously the use of the split diopter in one shot near the finale is a worthy choice. My brother and I (both film geeks) squealed in our seats when it happened.

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick T

@Patrick T - I was going to say this as well. Also, the final drone shot of the Tethered holding hands across the countryside was also great.

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

That smile in the end.

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Lupita on the escalator. Iconic.

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

It’s so nice to see another great Lupita performance. Or should I say two of them? Actually ... it’s just nice to SEE Lupita!

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBushwick

The tethered daughter’s smile.
Don’t make me think of this - I’m trying to go to sleep
No no no no....

March 30, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Yes. To all of this.

But also... count me in on reinstating HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT. I love it so much.

March 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

The family and their shadows on the sand as they walk on the beach.

March 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

OH MY GOD I MISS 'HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT' Please please please do bring it back.

Saw 'Us' on Tuesday and really liked it. Then thinking about the film later I started realizing all these little horror gems sprinkled throughout the film. That Lost Boys easter egg was so slick and the Snow White references in the prologue among so many others. The performances were terrific. I'm usually not a fan of children in horror but these two/four were fantastic. Loved the twist too, which makes me dying to see it again.

March 30, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermikenewq

Troy H. - you beat me to it! love this shot. spot on, thematically, yet not too in your face. I mentioned the shot to my hubby as we were driving home as a nice piece of foreshadowing (what? it was right there ;)

March 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

"stunning" performance? Many reviews think she's overacting in the movie.

March 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

Ulrich -- lets just say i think those people are 100% wrong.

March 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Lupito Nyong'o is not overacting in US. She's pretty damn great in it.

March 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I agree with Troy H. and Travis. I also keep thinking about "we are Americans."

There are a lot of echoes of Black Swan in this movie, too, especially in the shot where Lupita first sees Red.

March 31, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Please bring back Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

So many perfect images in Us, I wouldn't know where to begin, but I love everything about the 1986 sequence.

March 31, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterremy

I know I am late to the party but I just saw this movie and the image that stuck with me the most is Elizabeth Moss in the mirror- playing with herself, examining the beauty and then deciding she would like better with scars and blood. Her performance is short but that image has stayed with me.

April 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

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