I have wanted to see this movie since the first trailers came out. Jordan Peele is acknowledged as an excellent storyteller, and the scenes I saw showed a fantastic blend of comedy and horror with actors I’ve seen in other productions and knew they would be great. After watching this film, I can say without a doubt that the storytelling is masterful. It is highly unique with superb acting. The film is wildly entertaining and intelligent, and I say yes to seeing this one on the big screen, especially IMAX.
Nope is a science fiction film written, directed, and produced by Jordan Peele. After random objects fall out of the sky and result in the death of their father (Keith David), Hayward siblings, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (KeKe Palmer), attempt to capture video evidence of a UFO when it begins taking horses from the ranch, soon, they find the whole town, including Jupe Park (Steven Yeun), owner of a Wild West Park, is also involved in trying to view the event. The siblings enlist the help of Angel (Brandon Perea), a tech salesperson, and a documentarian Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott), to help them gather their evidence before the rest of the town does the same.
What struck me the most about this film is how unusual it is. The alien UFO turns out to be something unique to science fiction. Part of the entertainment here is how OJ, Emerald, and the others react to the alien craft and how they figure out what to do. Rather than try to track the ship down, OJ and Emerald are more inclined to attempt to survive. They hide when it’s smart to do so and have excellent reasons to get picture evidence. The ranch needs money; more importantly, OJ doesn’t want to leave the horses to be taken by the ship. He cares about the horses, and that motivation is clear from the second his character is onscreen. The rational choices don’t detract from the entertainment; instead, they enhance it. So you meet intelligent people who are only doing what they need to at the moment.
The film’s pace starts slow, but it is necessary to build the backstory and create the tension you experience in the second half of the film when you truly feel that OJ and Emerald are in danger from the ship. Care is taken to build the characters and their reactions. The audience is also introduced to objects and behavior patterns that become critical in the rest of the film. Some scenes seem strange or out of place but are essential to the final outcome with the alien.
The comedy is all about everyone’s reaction to the ship. Some of the funniest scenes come from Emerald. Her dialogue, especially in response to quiet OJ, brings much of the lighter moments. At one point, she offers weed to OJ, and both reactions are hilarious. Angel adds humor when he is introduced working at Fry’s and then comes out to the ranch to help install cameras. Even OJ gets a few comedic moments. It is as much the dialogue as the situation too. I won’t give away these scenes, but the comedy and satire lighten the first half while making you think in the second half. The reactions are designed to make you consider what you would do in a similar environment. The blend of comedy with science fiction along with horror elements is masterful.
The special effects are simple but effective. While there is one moment at the end where you question the reality of the alien, it’s still believable. The special effects with how the alien ship interacts with the humans and the horses add to the creepy and frightening environment. There are a few scenes I expected, but there are also ones that chilled me to my bones.
The acting is beyond superb. Daniel Kaluuya is nuanced and subtle in his expressions. He plays a highly intelligent character, which shows in every shot of his face and eyes as he considers his next action. KeKe Palmer is equally intelligent and feisty in her portrayal of Emerald. Her character stands toe to toe with OJ, and she brings a brilliant charm and fire to her role. Steven Yeun is excellent as Jupe, a showman, and actor. He gives hints of his character’s true nature but reveals that bit by bit. Brandon Perea is comedically gifted in his role and adds to the comedic moments in the film. Finally, Michael Wincott is foreboding but impressive as Antlers Holst, adding to the story’s tension.
The only aspect that might detract from the story for some people is the slower quality of the film’s first half. But to me, it is crucial to set up the story and the stunning conclusion. That setup is important because everything introduced in the first half is brought back and is critical to the rest. And everything is utilized. Not one piece is forgotten or unimportant. So while the story might seem strange or bizarre at times, it is riveting and absorbing, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout the movie.
If you love Jordan Peele’s other films, you will love this as much. His masterful blend of science fiction, comedy, and horror, will keep you enthralled. The performances are powerful, emotional, and superb. And the finale of the film is perfect. This is a film I could watch multiple times, trying to capture some new detail, and while some will compare it to other science fiction films, I think it’s in a league of its own and is a yes all the way to the box office.
Rating: 5 out of 5 balloons.
Oscar® winner Jordan Peele disrupted and redefined modern horror with Get Out and then Us. Now, he reimagines the summer movie with a new pop nightmare: the expansive horror epic, NOPE. 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. NOPE, which co-stars Michael Wincott (HITCHCOCK, WESTWORLD) and Brandon Perea (THE OA, AMERICAN INSURRECTION), is written and directed by Jordan Peele and is produced by Ian Cooper (US, CANDYMAN) and Jordan Peele for Monkeypaw Productions. The film will be released by Universal Pictures worldwide and opens in theaters Friday, July 22, 2022.
ONE-LINER: The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.