Nope Review

Jordan Peele surprised the whole world when Get Out came out. It is considered one of the best horror movies in recent memory. It even garnered him an Academy Award for Original Screenplay. He is now considered a must-see director. His next film, Us, was another audacious outing. He likes to make statements about society while also trying to scare the bejesus out of people. His new film Nope does both very well. And it might be his best film yet.

This film is centered around the Haywood Hollywood Horses. A horse farm in the Hollywood hills. Daniel Kaluuya plays OJ Haywood, the son of a successful horse trainer. He is carrying on after the sudden death of his father. He believes in the tradition of what his father’s father started many years ago. His sister, Emerald (Keke Palmer), isn’t as enamored with the family tradition but helps her brother carry on anyway. After a gig, she comes home with him, and they start to witness some strange events.

Peele’s films usually say something about our world or society, and Nope is no different. There is a subplot involving a sitcom and a monkey, and it’s pretty gruesome. Steven Yeun’s character has a hidden past that he wouldn’t like everybody to know about, which has brought him to this place and time, running Jupiter’s Claim a country and western town and show. 

The setting of this film is in the Hollywood Hills. It is interesting because it lends itself to the crazy goings-on that starts to happen involving the clouds and what is hidden in the hills. Peele brings a dread that is not easily understandable by the film’s three stars, but with the help of a tech guy, Angel Torres (Brandon Perea), they plan to record their findings and hope to see what is out there with special cameras. 

There are underlying messages in Peele’s films, and sometimes, these messages aren’t always very noticeable. When it comes to animals and training, it’s not easy to work with them, especially horses. Some animals are something you shouldn’t look at because they take it as a threat to their being. That translates to the film’s overall theme, and it plays into Peele’s obsession with getting themes about the human condition into his films. These themes can say a lot about who we are and where we came from, and it’s not always pretty. It’s kind of depressing to think about.

Peele used IMAX cameras to film this movie, and boy, is it an IMAX experience. He upped the scale of the film while also trying to keep it intimate and small at the same time. These characters were in their own world, and the surroundings were what was big and grandiose. It was hard to describe what was going on, but it was strange, scary, and funny all at the same time. Peele encompassed many emotions in this film, and that’s what I was going through while watching it. I had a lot going through my mind, and most of it was good thoughts about the film’s originality and how Peele continues to surprise and bring an original vision to film like no other filmmaker alive today.

The acting in the film was pretty good by most, not great, but the standout was Keke Palmer. She had all the best lines in the movie. When she spoke, I listened extra hard. She made me laugh and smile because of how her character reacted to the various situations around her and her friends and family. She acted in a way that I probably would, and it was entertaining to watch. Of course, she didn’t get the moment of the film, but that was expected because one other actor was a bit bigger star than she was.

Nope was a film that said a lot about life and the world as a whole. The sci-fi aspects of the film were filmed with IMAX cameras, bringing another scale to the film. It also had an intimate feel because of the small group of characters it focused on. The cast was pretty good, with Keke Palmer as the standout. Peele brought out many emotions in me, with joy being the biggest one when the film was over. Peele continues to surprise and wow with each new movie he makes, and that’s great!

4 1/2 stars

Dan Skip Allen

Sean Boelman Foinder/EIC disappointment media

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