Jordan Peele once again demonstrates why he is becoming one of the most reliable directors in Hollywood. Nope builds on his already impressive resume, cementing him in the big leagues. Hitting home with some social issues all while telling a unique and original alien tale. Paying homage to films before it, while adding his own unique twist on a disturbing discovery.
The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.
What lengths would you go to for that perfect shot? To capture the impossible on screen? If you were to witness what can only be described as a “bad miracle” would you be able to turn away, or would you like most people look up in not only curiosity but also fear? These are just a few of the questions that Jordan Peele asks with his newest film. A film that centers around a brother and sister dynamic who run a Hollywood horse ranch and are trying to capture the unimaginable on tape, but with all things supernatural, it comes with a price.
Here’s the thing. When you see something out of this world, your first inclination would be to look up not only in amazement but potentially in fear. Well, what if doing so meant it was the end of the line for you? We live in a world that is obsessed with likes, clicks and seeking attention. It’s rare now that something amazing happens in your life and you don’t try to capture it with a video or photo. No one tends to live in the moment and just let life happen around them, everyone needs that validation and to cement their legacy as it is.
One thing that is certain when watching a Jordan Peele film is the layers and questions and themes that he presents to the audience. Living in the moment, is just one of those themes, how our obsession with social media, and capturing every moment can ultimately consume us. It’s always difficult to discuss his movies without spoiling anything, but if you’ve seen any trailers, you know this is about some sort of alien aircraft and the repercussions that come with it. When OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer) stumble upon the supernatural, they both realize that this is a once in a lifetime moment for the both of them. See their family has been apart of Hollywood royalty for sometime, well they are descendants of the man who was in the first movie ever made. Now taking a place behind the camera, training horses for movies and commercials, they play a vital role in the film industry, whether the industry itself wants you to know or not. Early in the film, OJ is trying to go over the safety protocols around the horse, and when it’s apparent that no one is paying attention and think little of the horse, it’s a reminder that people take animals for granted. Not only that, but using animals as “spectacle” rather than let them be one with nature. Even the vastly important people training these animals are never mentioned or brought up with talking about movies. Leading to another theme throughout the movie, the exploitation of crew members on film sets. Usually the people doing the brunt force of the work, pouring in hours of work and most of the time doing the most dangerous things, are usually the ones who get the least recognition from the industry and audience. Peele makes this clear by having our hero OJ where a bright orange sweater in the finale with the word CREW in giant letters on the back of his sweater.
There’s two other notable performances in this movie, one belonging to Brandon Perea as Angel who helps the Haywood’s set up their cameras. He’s the much needed comic relief in this insane story, that helps ease the tension, but also wants to be apart of history. Knowing that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, he digs in deep and jeopardizes his entire future, for the perfect shot. Steven Yeun plays Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park a former child star turned ranch owner. It’s not much of a park but he relies on nostalgia from his dark past to bring the costumers. He was part of a sitcom that went array, when an ape attacked cast members, and he’s been leaching off that horrid moment for his entire life. Another theme from the movie, not messing with nature, and that it can not be control. No matter how hard you try, nature always wins. When we fail to learn from our past experiences we are doomed to repeat ourselves. Jupe falls right into this trap and he ultimately learns that mother nature is undefeated.
Overall, it’s another stellar outing from Peele, who is in full control of his movies from every aspect. He wants the audience to leave asking questions and pondering the themes he has presented for us. He’s telling original stories, and cementing himself as one of the best to do that in recent memory. This is a spectacle in its own self, while feeling like a true summer blockbuster. See it on the biggest screen possible, and feel the weight of this thing.
NOPE = 81/100