“I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie. Not that I don’t like white dudes. But I’ve seen that movie,” says Jordan Peele, writer-director of academy award winning movie “Get Out”, in a promotional interview for his latest release ‘Us’.
“Us” is an American horror movie which deals with the circumstances a young woman and her family faces when they encounter their evil doppelgängers. The Bible’s verse Jeremiah 11:11 which reads: “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them,” holds great relevance in the movie as the story unfolds.
The movie should be praised for its writing, screenplay, and direction. A much-needed acknowledgement should be given to the use of background music as well as Lupita Nyong’o’s portrayal of Adelaide Wilson, the lead. In Peele’s writing, nothing seems unnecessary, every sequence, shot, and character will have its relevance to the unfolding the plot. The characters and sequences are limited and yet never feel too little. In addition, the layers of symbolism and references elevate the movie and make it an engaging watch. Each element in the movie is layered, attempts to speak much more than the audience can fathom at one go. Hence, the audience is left scratching their heads and bewildered.
Also, the movie feels a bit stretched towards the end as the writer-director is attempting too many surprises.
But after any Peele venture, it’s hard to get disappointed. Both of his movies – “Get Out” and “Us” – are racial commentaries on circumstances which black people have faced. The actor-writer-director engages in mixing entertainment with topicality. He is a horror fanatic and believes horror and comedy are quite similar, “So much of it is pacing, so much of it [hinges on] reveals.”
With his sensational debut directorial venture, “Get Out” fetched him an Academy award brought him into the circles of whos-who of Hollywood. This movie is about a young black man’s discovery of an eccentric secret of his white girlfriend’s family. This is also a horror movie with a black actor as a lead. The movie is sensational, the acting, writing, direction and everything else is on point.
I was feeling weirdly satisfied and terrified after watching the movie. After a very long time, I was witnessing something of such quality and excellence without making it grand.
If the starting statement of the essay seemed conservative then do read the post-script.
Remember when Tim Burton came out and said that black people don’t fit in with the “aesthetic” of his films? Remember when Woody Allen said he would never cast a black actor unless it was “required?” Ridley Scott once said he wouldn’t ever be able to get approval to mount a major motion picture or ever receive financing to make a film starring someone named “Mohammed so-and-so from such-and-such.” Y’all want to be mad at Jordan Peele for saying he’s not interested in telling white stories when your faves have been deliberately, openly excluding black people from participating in their work since the beginning of film history and you all haven’t had shit to say. One director said he’s focusing on telling black stories and using black actors isn’t oppressive to white people.
“When you’re (so) accustomed to privileges, equality feels like oppression.” -Franklin Leonard