I’m sure you heard of the expression ‘style over content’ applied to film. Well, if you want a canonical example of that, just watch English horror/comedy/drama Us and Them.
Actually, you’d be better off watching Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void (2009)… at least that movie is great in its own merit and for what it’s trying to achieve.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, and let’s start from the plot of Us and Them. Hmm, in short we follow three low-life criminals who intrude into a rich mansion where mom, dad and daughter live. However, they’re motivation to be there is purely to upload a video of the assault on YouTube and prove a point: 1% of Britons earn more than the poorest layers of society altogether.
The problem is that the main storyline runs for 10 minutes more or less, with the rest of the runtime being stretched to the feature-length through lengthy flashbacks, highly stylised slo-mo scenes and ‘artsy’ sequences that add nothing to the plot nor they progress it in any way.
Continue reading and check my grade below…
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Though I probably sounded very negative, all these aspects are very enjoyable. Us and Them is a trippy viewing experience filled with great shots, beautiful cinematography, innovative camera-work and so on. This film does look great and, due to performances and funny British humour, is very watchable and will most likely have you not regretting to have spent 83 minutes of your time sitting through it.
Nevertheless, the story is basically non-existent. Us and Them would work much better as a short in a politically-fuelled horror anthology, where the message can get across without having to stretch a basic concept to too long extents.
What I do like about the socio-political message of Us and Them, though, is that it’s not as simple and childish as it might seem for most of the runtime. The ending, which is probably the best part of the movie alongside the first act, definitely makes you think and brings some horrific scenes that were lacking during the rest of the runtime.
Unfortunately, overall Us and Them is quite a forgettable flick that I don’t think many would be interested in watching. Nonetheless, it’s an entertaining, great-looking movie will help you go through some boring day.
Us and Them 5/10