Nope

After the release of his first two films, 2017’s Get Out and 2019’s Us, one thing became perfectly clear about Jordan Peele as a filmmaker: Besides hi love for short names, the guy undoubtedly understands the importance of baking rich themes and abstract motifs into the DNA of his stories. His films are rarely what they initially appear to be, and because of that, they demand our absolute attention and beg us to watch them over and over again.

"does for the sky what Jaws did for the open ocean"


That’s certainly the case with his latest film, Nope, a though-provoking horror/sci-fi, which digs deep into some underlying observations about the human fascination with outrageous spectacle, just how far people are willing to go to become famous, and the effect unbridled exploitation has on what should be pure and natural.

Sure, that all sounds overtly pretentious and heavy handed, but just watch it and you’ll quickly discover something else about Peele’s films: though a bit difficult to classify as outright horror, they are unquestionably spooky, creepy and even outright scary at times. In the case of Nope, the creep factor comes from its unique blend of horror and science fiction as well as from some deliciously disturbing subject matter. In other words, Nope is simply a whole lot of fun on many different levels.

Since we gathered very little plot information from the film’s rather secretive trailers, I’ve got to be very careful when describing the story. But let’s just say that film is essentially about brother, OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) and sister Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer, Hustlers) and the unexpected way in which the siblings were forced to reconnect after inheriting the legendary horse ranch of their Hollywood animal wrangler father who is suddenly and tragically killed in a freak accident.Nope

The plot eventually reveals the disturbing cause of their father’s demise, and propels the plot deeper and deeper into a mysterious and intriguing outer space conspiracy that carries a similar mystery and intrigue to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Kaluuya, whose OJ is a man of noble character and few words, reunites with Peele for the first time since Get Out in 2017. He represents the moral center of the film while Palmer’s Keke, who at first glance appears to be the polar opposite of her brother, eventually reveals that the two are actually quite connected.

Driven by her obsession with being an influencer, Keke lives much of her life publicly through social media, a fact which plays an integral part of the film’s central theme. You’ll just have to watch it all play out to decide if the message works for you. Both actors absolutely disappear into their roles with wonderfully persuasive performances sure to endear the audience to their characters.

Oscar nominee Steven Yuen, (Minari) also turns in a memorable performance in a secondary plot as the smarmy former child star and Western-themed amusement park owner named Ricky Park who provides a financial lifeline to the horse ranch, and whose backstory adds one of the film’s most disturbing sequences. I’m still struggling to get over it.

Born from the Covid lockdown of 2020 and one of the few positives to come from that debacle, Nope is what happens when immensely creative minds have plenty of idle time to do what they do. It is Peele’s tribute to his childhood adoration for Jaws. With Nope he does for the sky what Jaws did for the open ocean. It is an expansive horror spectacle with an intimately touching emotional core.

4/5 stars

 

Film Details

Nope

MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and some violence/bloody images.
Runtime:
130 mins
Director
: Jordan Peele
Writer:
Jordan Peele
Cast:
Daniel Kaluuya; Keke Palmer; Brandon Perea
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote: "This dream you're chasing... where you end up at the top of the mountain... it's the one you never wake up from"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site: https://www.nope.movie/
Release Date: July 22, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.

Art

Nope