Film Review: ‘Us’ — Jordan Peele’s gripping, gory second act

The movie is filled with dark and mysterious turns. (Us)
Updated 02 April 2019
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Film Review: ‘Us’ — Jordan Peele’s gripping, gory second act

  • The movie tells the story of an African-American family haunted by killer doppelgangers
  • One of the actors who plays a main rule is the Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o

DUBAI: All eyes are on Jordan Peele as he attempts to dodge a sophomore slump with his creepy new horror feature, "Us, "after his marvelous debut feature, “Get Out,” earned him an Oscar nod trifecta — Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay (which he won).

In “Us,” Peele tells the story of an African-American family in California whose idyllic vacation at their holiday home is interrupted by killer doppelgangers who show up dressed in red coveralls, armed with scissors.

(Us)

The horror unravels with the eerie visitors trying to gut the family with their unusual choice of weapon, but this isn’t simply a slasher flick; it takes darker and more mysterious turns along the way.

Peele’s masterful storytelling is enough to overcome the relatively unoriginal premise, and cinematographer Mike Gioulakis brings Peele’s vision to life with compelling high-contrast visuals.

The technique is highlighted early; the film opens with a flashback to 1986, with a young girl wandering into a ramshackle Hall of Mirrors in a beachside funfair. Inside, she sees a reflection that terrifies, and deeply scars, her, kicking off the film’s major narrative arc.

The young girl grows up to be Adelaide (played by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o), the matriarch of the family, who plays the role with a compelling energy, matched by “Black Panther” co-star Winston Duke, who plays her husband in the movie. Duke provides some of the film’s best moments, with Peele using his character for some much-needed comic relief.

(Us)

Peele’s wildly imaginative tale employs some tried-and-tested horror-movie tropes, from slow camera movements and tight reaction shots that really highlight Nyong’o’s striking facial expressions to haunting sound design. The film’s deft use of music is on another level, even transforming a hip-hop song into a hair-raising terror tune.

“Us” is not just a horror movie, though. As he did in “Get Out,” Peele delivers a story with social commentary, although this time it’s not as straightforward. “Us” shrouds its message in mind-bending metaphors, and character lines that are often hit-and-miss.

The eccentricities and creativity of the film’s plot are somewhat wasted by its rather predictable climax, but overall “Us” is a thrilling, frightening ride.


Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

Elie Jr. and Christina Mourad. (Social media)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

  • The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels

BEIRUT: Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab has been hailed by tourism chiefs for staging his son’s lavish wedding reception on home turf.
The influential Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon saluted Saab “for holding the wedding party of his son, Elie Jr., and the Lebanese bride, Christina Mourad, in Lebanon instead of abroad, as do tens of Lebanese leaders and lords.
“Holding wedding parties abroad has deprived the tourism sector as well as other sectors in Lebanon of important revenues that can revive the national economy,” the syndicate said.
The nonprofit body that represents restaurateurs, added that the glittering event had “turned the country into a huge wedding attended by more than 3,000 guests from inside and outside Lebanon.
“People shared their joy on social media, communicating Lebanon’s image of civilization and tourism to the world. This wedding filled Lebanese hotels, restaurants and nightclubs and stirred the economic cycle for more than 10 days before and after the wedding. We salute the man who loves peace and Lebanon a thousand times.”
Jean Abboud, president of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon (ATTAL), told Arab News: “The syndicate’s stance comes in response to a phenomenon that emerged a few years ago. Distinguished people have been holding lavish weddings for their children abroad, where they spend millions of dollars. This has not only been done by politicians, but also businessmen and senior employees, as if it has become a trend or an added value.”
The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels. “We have outstanding wedding planners who get employed to plan weddings abroad,” he added.
Abboud pointed out that the tourist season in Lebanon this year had so far been promising with the number of visitors from GCC countries, and especially Saudi Arabia, up on 2018 figures. He added that the 2019 draft budget approved by Parliament last week had not put “any burdens on the tourism sector.”
Chairman of the Hotel Owners Association in Lebanon, Pierre Al-Ashkar, estimated the cost of wedding parties held by Lebanese people abroad to be around $400 million, including hotel accommodation, purchases and transportation, in addition to the expenses of the wedding itself.
He said: “There is no longer a difference between politicians and businessmen who choose to hold their children’s wedding parties abroad. It is true that these weddings are no more than a few hundred, but their expenses are huge and, therefore, deprive Lebanon of this money.”
Al-Ashkar pointed out that the number of tourists choosing Lebanon this summer had risen, highlighting a significant 30 percent increase in the proportion of visitors from Europe.
“However, the number of tourists from GCC countries, especially Saudi Arabia, has not been as we had wished,” he added.
“Maybe this is because these tourists, who have not been visiting Lebanon for five to seven years, now have business in other countries or investments in tourist places outside of Lebanon, especially as some countries now offer incentives to attract tourists carrying certain passports and residence permits.”