Director: Jordan Peele
Story By: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, and Steven Yeun
* * *
There is a clip of Daniel Kaluuya talking about Joran Peele reaching out to him about doing Nope, and wanting to create a film that literally makes a person say “nope” in horrific or thrilling moments, and I personally think this film delivers on that idea.
* * *
Theme & Story: A-
Overall “Paper” Score: A-
* * *
General Public: Interesting Enough
Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch
Film Enthusiasts: Interesting Enough
Peele Horror / Thriller Fans: Worth the $$$
Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Don’t Rush / Interesting Enough
* * *
1. A brother and sister struggling to maintain their Black owned horse rental ranch/business for Hollywood is looking to “capture” this mysterious reason for a missing horse and possibly a family death. This is Nope.
Thematically, I watched a film that seemed to address consequences and responses to false expectations of forced assimilation, &/or self-interest driven control over others without regards to/familiarity with one’s innateness. Overall, the theme was well actualized by the end, but there was something a little choppy and congested in the beginning due to the subtle front loading of a lot of threaded ideas while maintaining mystery.
Act One does a nice job with quickly setting up the groundwork for our characters for me—why they are struggling with this ranch, hints to the “mysterious reason”, and foreshadowing a core component to the theme.
Act Two is where the focus on “capturing” this “mysterious reason” takes center stage for our characters. What was a bit of a misstep with this Act is what felt like a random “property/business war” between our main characters and a nearby amusement park. The rationale that was cleverly added via the dialogue felt like a stretch since there was never anything shown in Act One or earlier in Act Two to really justify this petty and “vengeful” moment to still take place. For me, it felt forced as a jump-scare tactic. Additionally, the theme was carried through pretty well via character dialogue regarding this “mysterious reason” but also with the interaction between our main character and the horses.
Act Three is the highlight of the film. I found the theme to be fully actualized, and there were visuals that were horrifying, and other visuals that were absolutely fascinating which made me have the same feelings as our main characters’ motivation to “capture” this “mysterious reason.”
All in all, the story and thematic followthrough, was pretty well done. 👍🏾👍🏾
2. I loved all the colors of the nighttime shots. 👍🏾👍🏾
3. Baby, Brandon Perea! Yeeesssss! 😍
4. Maybe it was just me, but there was clearly a racial take on black vs white characters in horror movies that was hilarious. 😂
5. The film has a runtime of 121 minutes, and though it moves in a crescendo, which can be slow for some viewers, there’s intentionality and enough engagement that kept me fully interested in where the film was going. I also found the moments plugging in the “Gordy” story to aid in keeping my attentiveness. 👍🏾
If anything, I would say that the film didn’t give enough time to the relationship between the ranch and Jupiter’s Claim—at least to support some decisions made in regards to intersecting moments outside of the first interaction which made sense. 🤷🏾♂️
6. To piggyback off point #5, I love how the partnership between Peele and Kaluuya also involves intentionally giving images of his dark skin in dark settings with shimmers of sweat to indicate fear. It’s really beautiful. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
7. That image when we ALL knew Holst “got it!” UGH, that was so damn cool! 😩😩🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
8. The parallelism between Gordy and the “mysterious reason”… especially the ending…well done. 👍🏾👍🏾
9. Chile…the Act Three cause and effect. Oh that was so wild and eery. 😬
10. So in all honesty, I have a love hate relationship with Keke Palmer. As a person and personality, I love her. She has such a great and personable spirit. As an actor, delivery can feel a little extra a times, mainly in her more adult roles (though I loved her in Hustlers). Here, she felt a bit too much in the beginning. There was a scene with her going off about “her side job” that came off a little forced. However, as the film progressed, my love for Keke’s character delivery grew. She was still a little extra at times, but she was great realistic-comedic relief. 👍🏾
Daniel Kaluuya is honestly such a Hollywood gem. He didn’t give much while also giving so much. Additionally, his character was a great torch for carrying out the theme, showcasing what it means to recognize, understand, and “cooperate” with one’s innateness while also being part of the problem and agitation for his own self-interest. 👍🏾👍🏾
Steven Yeun’s character overtime became a great character for thematic followthrough as well, as the seed for the consequences and response to self-interest driven control and a false expectation of forced assimilation. 👍🏾👍🏾
* * *
Overall #Nope gives Twister – meets Concrete Cowboy – meets Arrival – meets Signs – meets Bird Box.
When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, our neighbor at the time had a German Shepard named Ashley. Our yards were separated by only a wire fence that didn’t extend all the way to the back of our yard, so our backyard was a shared open space with their backyard. Occasionally, my cousins and I would go next door to play with Ashley, and the neighbors were nice and inviting. One day, Ashely had puppies and we didn’t know. My cousins and I at the time went next door to do what we always do—see and play with Ashley. However, the neighbor informed us on our way to the back: 1. She had puppies, and 2. What we should and shouldn’t do since her nature at the moment was about protecting her puppies.
My youngest cousin must’ve done something that triggered Ashley because not even 2 minutes near the dog house, Ashley lashed out and had our youngest cousin’s arm in clamped between her teeth.
This film took me back to this moment and the importance of understanding and respecting the innateness of the non-human species (and even human beings) we train / breed / “raise” for our own benefit. No matter how “cooperative” and/or “similar” a relationship between human and other, or human and human, might be, we all have different triggers that are innate to us based on experience, instinct, and/or natural habitat…and sometimes we need to just leave shyt alone.