Fim Reviews: Exposing ugly blemishes in the face of film

US (15)

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19 March, 2019, 10:29
Us. Pictured: Lupita Nyong'o as Adelaide Wilson, Evan Alex as Jason Wilson and Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora Wilson. Credit PA.

In his Oscar-winning horror Get Out, writer-director Jordan Peele took a magnifying glass to race relations and exposed ugly blemishes in the face of present-day American society.

For his eagerly awaited second feature, the film-maker holds up a mirror - literally and figuratively - and asks us to stare unblinking into the eyes of our distorted reflections.

Us is more bloodthirsty and physically punishing than its predecessor, obliquely referencing The Shining and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers as a family of four is held hostage by diabolical doppelgangers.

Peele's script is laboriously specific about the back stories of the lead characters but he is frustratingly ambiguous when it comes to burnishing the nuts and bolts of the social commentary underpinning the slaughter. Viewed purely as a misfit member of the horror genre, Peele's picture is unsettling rather than white-knuckle terrifying.

THE WHITE CROW (12A)

Oscar-nominated actor Ralph Fiennes ventures behind the camera for the third time to dramatise the rise of Soviet Union ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and his 1961 defection to the West.

Interspersed with colour-bleached flashbacks, The White Crow is a beautifully poised study of creative genius in flux and the meticulously choreographed dance sequences are on pointe.

David Hare's sombre and respectful script pirouettes back and forth in time to dizzying effect.

Consequently, dramatic momentum loses its sure footing early into the excessive 127-minute running time. Too much is left unsaid despite a solid, muscular performance from Russian dancer Oleg Ivenko, who makes his feature film debut as Nureyev and speaks in both English and his native tongue.