US: Directed by Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele has not rested on his laurels. Two years after premiering “Get Out” in the United States, his great feature debut, he comes to our theaters with his second film, Nosotros. It delves deeper into the horror genre, of which Peele is a huge fan and proud supporter, but does so in a more minimalist and cryptic way. A distillation of the genre to achieve a film that is based almost exclusively on the staging and on exploiting the old trope of the doppleganger, seasoning everything with his particular humor. We already know the premise from the trailers. A middle-class African-American family takes a vacation getaway to the beach and, in the middle of the night, they find themselves mugged at home by some kind of antagonistic family. Thus begins a home invasion that, as we will see as soon as the film begins, has a direct link to an event from the mother’s protagonist’s past.
From there, Peele calmly builds a fairground attraction, taking great care of the staging and taking his time to portray a family in a more everyday context to which he gradually adds disturbing elements. She takes her time in detonating his story while sowing his story with small flashbacks. A story that is tremendously simple, perhaps too much so, for the time it spends both warming up the atmosphere and playing cat and mouse when the cards are on the table.
This dilation of the time that he dedicates to the scenes (not to their internal rhythm, which is impeccable) may be motivated by one of the intentions that the director himself has confessed: that the film works as a Rorschach test on the Let the viewer pour their interpretations. The more time seasoned with strangeness, the more time to think and seek explanations beyond those offered by the film.
It may also be that Peele was in love with the basic idea of the film but that it was not powerful enough to sustain almost two hours of footage. It is something that one considers because, although he intends to leave various aspects of his story to the viewer’s interpretation, he also dedicates more verbiage and images than necessary to clarify the revelation it contains and that, as soon as one is attentive and have some film-watching baggage, you’ll see it coming well in advance. There is a certain contradiction between the excess of explanations for an aspect that could be intuited without problem and the many questions that are deliberately left unanswered. The latter is not necessarily negative, the uncertainty in the closure of a fantastic premise is sometimes much more effective and terrifying than a disappointing explanation, but it shocks that feeling of leaving the viewer freedom in the most symbolic elements and primordial questions and not trusting in his deductive capacity in simpler questions.
In any case, if the film stands out in anything, it is in the direction and in the double interpretation of its leading actress, a magnificent Lupita Nyong’o who does an impressive expressive and vocal job. The director Peele, for his part, achieves a perfect internal rhythm in his scenes and opts for a direction that is as simple as it is elegant, without those technical gimmicks so typical in films where there are duplicate actors face to face. As he himself says, he shoots as if all the characters were on stage and looking for the best way to enhance the sensations that each moment requires. With his great work behind the camera, he manages to sustain several of the buts that a long and fearful script has in its resolution.
Unlike “GetOut”, where there was a clear criticism of the condescension with which the affluent left in the United States covers up its racial prejudices, here, although there are some cultural nods (the cult television of the 80s, Alice in Wonderland ), there is no message beyond a certain idea of class struggle that can be inferred from history. Basically, this is nothing more than a very successful slasher with the interesting addition of doubles.
That said, it is true that genre cinema is not obliged to justify itself with a brainy background or metaphors of any kind, but it is inevitable to think that much of the hype that the film has had is very marked by that desire to seek more meanings than the ones it really contains (Peele invites) while being forgiven for the laxity in the footage and those unnecessary over-explanations. They are trips that hinder the virtues that Us offers us as a pure and simple horror movie.