*No twists spoiled…
Caretakers at a California horse ranch encounter a mysterious force that affects human and animal behaviour.
“What’s a bad miracle?”
Everyone has been in the situation, at one point or another, where they have been in a situation where they just have to say Nope, not doing this. Jordan Peele took that concept and basically decided to write a whole movie around it. He also tossed in a little bit of JAWS, and CLOSE ENCOUTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and we got another great entry into Peele’s still young but prolific career.
With NOPE we are given a very small and contained story about something that we have all thought about, Extra Terrestrials. Be it UFO’s, Aliens, or weird probes, we have all thought about what it would be like to discover that we are not alone on this earth. Our characters have to deal with this head on when they are confronted with it on their front door step.
O.J. (Daniel Kaluuya), Em (Keke Palmer) are siblings who inherited a horse farm from their dad where they train these horses to be in tv shows, commercials, and movies. When they find out a UFO has been flying around their farm snatching up their cows they decided to everything in their power to get it on film in order to tell the world about the phenomenon. The only problem is, these ETs are very good about not allowing anyone or anything to see them. So it is an all out chase to find a way to locate the UFO before it basically destroys every living thing in the area.
The cinematography was obviously brilliant, when you see a name like Hoyte Van Hoytema (DUNKIRK, TENET), expectations shift but he did not disappoint. They shot this with IMAX cameras to give it the biggest feel possible, and it works. Everything about the movie feels captured perfectly with tracking shots, zoom ins, and wide shots of everything going on. We also of course get the return of the Michael Abels collaboration with Peele for their third movie being scored together. This time we get an incredibly tense score, paired with amazing sound design when they encounter anything not from this Earth. It creates a mood that is undeniable.
Stock Neutral – Daniel Kaluuya
Kaluuya is one of the best actors on the planet right now and this performance is no different. He is funny, emotional, and has that it factor we always talk about. He is coming off his first Oscar (JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH) with this role and teams back up with Peele and in interviews they talk like they want to work together forever. Which would be great for anyone who is a fan of these movies because they clearly have a great dynamic. If Kaluuya keeps making these amazing choices in movies he is going to have an amazing career.
Stock Up – Keke Palmer
We have been watching Keke since she was a little kid with TRUE JACKSON VP, and AKEELAH AND THE BEE (I know clean rhyme). She has always had a great screen presence, but with NOPE she really gets a chance to shine in a different way. Her chemistry with Kaluuya was fantastic and everytime she is on screen you are just following her around waiting to see what she does next. I continue to be a huge fan of hers.
Stock Up – Jordan Peele
This guy three movies in is arguably one of the top writer/directors in the world already. Everything about his style is just unique and smart. From his comedy, which obviously stems from his sketch background, to his ability to create tension, and just the look of his movies all is top notch. I hate to even say this but he is on a historic path right now.
*A couple other tidbits
- Brandon Perea was absolutely hysterical, this guy needs all the opportunities moving forward.
- Steven Yeun was great as always, he just had a smaller, but impactful role here.
- Clearly, not nearly enough Keith David.
I really liked Nope even if it is not as perfect as GET OUT it further strengthens Jordan Peele’s already intriguing resume. I think this is a great example also of an original story becoming a big summer blockbuster, without relying on decade old IP. These are the stories people are clamoring for.
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