The film reunites Peele with Oscar® winner Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah), who is joined by Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Alice) and Oscar® nominee Steven Yeun (Minari, Okja) as residents in a lonely gulch of inland California who bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.
Fear is an interesting concept. What do you immediately think of when the topic of what scares you arises? You probably begin to think of darkness, nighttime, or loneliness. Next, there may be some sort of monstrous or ghastly figure followed by strange noises and unnatural movement. However, It may in fact actually be the unknown that freezes us in our tracks. Being unable to clearly identify what we are looking at causes confusion and once you hear a weird sound and what looks like movement, the fear kicks in. Only to later realize that what scared you was a laundry hamper or a jacket on a chair. But what about when the sun is up? When you can clearly see every detail, you know exactly what is making the ominous sounds, there is nothing you can do about it. You can’t pretend that it’s not there, the comfort light is gone. That’s some real fear.
“What’s a bad miracle?”
The genius mind of Jordan Peele has done it again. He is not only now three for three with his films, but he is methodically solidifying his name alongside
horror filmmaking legends. His newest entry into the horror genre, Nope is where simplicity, depth, spectacle, and terror intersect. The curiosity you had about clouds as a child, just returned in a horrifying way. We all know and love Peele for how he is able to take a somewhat simple social concept and layer it with scares and moral and philosophical quandaries. His work also holds up a mirror that while feeling grandiose is also intimate and divisive. With Nope, he steers the film in a similar direction, but this time on the largest scale with the addition of daytime terror. Conceptually, the story feels more traditional to the genre than his earlier work. However, as we’ve come to understand Get Out and Us where nothing is as it seems and there is symbolism and deeper meaning to everything, Nope is no different—nothing is by mistake. As we get older we tend to get so busy and consumed with what’s right in front of us that we forget to marvel at the wonders of nature. Well, I bet you’ll be looking up at the clouds after this experience and with a suspicious eye.
“…the Oprah shot.”
Nope just became your new go-to UFO/UAP encounter film. Not only is it original but what you’re going to see is unlike anything you’ve seen before. It’s vast yet minimalist, subtle yet in your face, it asks questions and shouts answers. Whether IMAX, Dolby, or something better, this movie experience is meant for the largest screen possible with seat-rumbling sound. Moreover, to pair with its amazing and expansive cinematography, eerie and detailed sound design, and unforgettable imagery, there are its glaring and not-so glaring themes and social commentary. While some may be easy to catch such as family, legacy, and spectacle, there are also some like addiction, nature, and exploitation that aren’t as apparent until after the fact. That being said, many things are open to interpretation. Nevertheless, its most prominent theme is notoriety and our obsession with it. The majority of us want our 15 minutes of fame, we want to be known and seen, and it’s more attainable than ever nowadays–but at what cost? Will you become famous if you go viral? Maybe. Will it make you rich? Possibly. Could it be at the expense of your livelihood and/or life? Also, very possible. It explores the industry that made this film possible and how those behind the scenes are treated and often go unrecognized as well as those in front can be traumatized by it. There is so much to unpack once the experience is over that I’m still trying to decode it as I type, but that is what makes a film like this so special. As a matter of fact, let me not forget to mention our heavy reliance on technology and our “video or it didn’t happen” mentality. Which I find rather funny because if you get proof of anything but it seems too unbelievable, then it’s photoshopped or edited. Anyway, along with its great CGI, its visceral shots, and awesome score and soundtrack, this is a film that we will all be discussing, debating, and decyphering for quite a while. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I do believe that the film will be underappreciated initially. Mostly due to unknown but very high expectations. Nevertheless, Nope stays with you and now you may never look at the sky the same way again. I enjoyed it a great deal and will definitely see it a second time to see what else I pick up on. Its rewatchability is high.
Pacing & Pop
The pacing of this film is perfect. The time it spends on each chapter as it seamlessly crafts its story and builds anticipation is amazing. You never quite know when something substantial was going to take place. What popped for me was the unique reveal of what is in the sky. I don’t want to give anything away but you’d never guess what you’re going to see, so that’s as specific as I’ll be.
Characters & Chemistry
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Michael Wincott, Brandon Perea, Keith David
The chemistry in this film is part of what makes it so great. It’s just as character-driven as it is driven by the spectacle. The sibling dynamic between OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer) feels incredibly organic. From their dialogue to their mannerisms, the pair come off as extremely authentic. Kaluuya’s transformation from quiet and reserved to outspoken, brave, and driven was phenomenal. Keke Palmer is an electric charismatic force that you can’t get enough of. And Brandon Perea as Angel feels as if he represents the audience as we tag along for this wild discovery.
Nope releases in theaters on July 22, 2022. Stay safe and enjoy.
Runtime: 2h 11m
Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Producers: Jordan Peele, Ian Cooper p.g.a.
Executive Producers: Robert Graf, Win Rosenfeld
Director of Photography: Hoyte van Hoytema
Nope is an unforgettable out-of-this-world experience. Expect the unexpected.
Senior Critic. Observing the human race since 1988.