NEW YORK TIMES/
Haves and Have-Nots Collide in ‘Us and Them’
With frothing energy and unfettered vulgarity, “Us and Them” lances the boil of working-class grievance and watches as the infection spreads to everyone in its path. Structured as a home-invasion thriller with brash comedic overtones, this sharp-elbowed tale of a financially strapped British threesome who torment a wealthy family has bags of style and even a few ideas.
Most of those are undercooked, but the movie, drawing the bulk of its vitality from an electric lead performance, suffers less than you might imagine. As the hollow-eyed, foulmouthed Danny, Jack Roth (a dead ringer for his father, Tim Roth) is alive with unpredictable menace. Equal parts grit and grandiosity, he views himself as a fed-up political rebel, railing in monologue against one-percenters. Social warrior or just plain sociopath, he has frustrations that are real; and as he and his balaclava-wearing accomplices (Andrew Tiernan and Daniel Kendrick) terrorize their hostages, the film’s jazzy tone and nervy editing — Guy Ritchie’s stylistic fingerprints are all over it — hustle us along.
Tapping into a vein of blue-collar resentment that’s both thematically rich and uncomfortably current, the writer and director, Joseph Martin, is not above using tricks to bolster an occasionally sagging narrative. Split screens, a fractured timeline and a soundtrack that skids from The Damned to Vivaldi help us push past an unfortunate episode of torture, and Stefan Mitchell’s stellar camerawork highlights the plot’s unexpected emotional shifts.
A switchback of mixed motives and ping-ponging sympathies, “Us and Them” declines to go all in for its working stiffs. We don’t need forewarning to suspect that their desperate gesture, like the economic divide they seek to vilify, is more than likely to implode.