Release Date: 07/22/22 [Cinemas]
Studio: Universal Pictures
"The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
As one of the most anticipated summer blockbusters of the year, Jordan Peele grabs hold of the sci-fi genre and tops it off with his own horror recipe. What I would like to say first is that I thoroughly enjoyed this film from start to finish. Not once did it fall off in terms of pacing, story, or intrigue. This film is crafted to go beyond expectation in a subtle, yet effective way. I loved every technical and creative aspect about it. Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yuen, and Brandon Perea are superb. All that said, I don't believe I can adequately review this film without delving into spoilers, so if you prefer to go in unspoiled, revisit this after you watch.
Just know this: Point blank, Nope is a Yep in my book!
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE:
After their father's sudden passing, OJ and Emerald inherit his Hollywood horse ranch, operating as the direct descendants of the unknown “black jockey riding a horse” in Eadweard Muybridge's famous Horse In Motion photo series. It's neat to see that tiny bit of history used to Peele's storytelling advantage. Historians still to this day don't know the name of the jockey who rode the horse. Considering the names of the horses the photographer used have been known for centuries, this stands as a grim reminder of black erasure in Hollywood.
Strange things start happening on the ranch about six months after their father's passing, which was a strange circumstance itself. OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) witness a UFO near the ranch. They recruit help in an attempt to capture the phenomena on video, planning to sell the footage to the media to help with their money troubles.
Nope is a film about chasing a spectacle. Peele explains this with a metaphor for the film industry. Jordan Peele's love for film is present in all of his work, but perhaps especially more so in Nope. Both on the screen; as the main characters live and work in the industry, and behind the fourth wall; as Nope is shot in IMAX film by Hoyte van Hoytema, one of the most well known cinematographers in the game right now. As someone who has worked in the industry myself, I drew a million lines to my own experience. It's easy to compare it to any other situation where notoriety and acclaim are sought after, but Peele has a lot to say about his industry of choice, and for good reason. Anyone who has ever been on a film set knows how easy it is to spot the attitudes of certain crew members, the cartoonish way people are wrangled right before a picture goes up, and how everyone loves to forget the history.
I could go on for ages giving my interpretations of key themes: the significance of sightlines, a nickel falling from the sky, or the meta commentary on the death of the auteur. But that's exactly what makes this movie great. There's not really a right or wrong answer. The conversation is already happening. I'm sure you'll see a lot of takes on Twitter over the next few weeks, and honestly, I don't think even Jordan Peele himself has all the answers. That's exactly what makes Peele an expert at his craft. His films are deeply layered, a joy to watch, and something we won't soon forget. 27 years later, people will still argue over what's in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. I only hope that 27 years from now, Jordan Peele will still have things to say to the world of cinema. I for one, hope to be sat dead center in an IMAX auditorium on opening night, taking it all in.
If you don't want to read into all of that, don't worry, it's still a fun sci-fi movie! It definitely made my summer at the theater regardless. But, if you're willing to dive in a little bit, there is just so much to unpack. As for me, I'll be too nervous to look up at the daylight sky for a month.
Nope is now in theaters and IMAX everywhere!