- Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea
- Written by
- Jordan Peele
- Directed by
- Jordan Peele
- Run Time
- 2h 15min
- Release Date
- July 22nd, 2022
When Jordan Peele showed up five years ago with Get Out he had all the promise of other filmmakers who hit the scene hard with their strong original voice. He exceeded expectation and went even bigger with this follow-up Us in 2019 which laid the groundwork for being the new voice in horror. With his latest, Nope Peele takes a new step into the realm of science fiction while still holding onto elements of horror, and even adds a bit of the old west in for good measure.
OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) is a Hollywood horse wrangler who has grown tired of the family business in the new age of CGI replacing real animals in film. After a mysterious tragedy, OJ slowly begins to sell off his horses to his neighbor and theme park owner Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park (Steven Yeun). Also showing up to step back into the family business is OJ’s sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) who he wants to help him, but is frustrated every time she does. Soon they begin to hear and see strange things on the ranch as well from the nearby theme park. The siblings decide to set up cameras to capture what they saw on film. They enlist the help of local grumpy tech store wiz Angel (Brandon Perea) to set up the cameras and along with them he becomes directly involved with the unexplained phenomena.
Peele is certainly channeling his inner-Ambiln with Nope. With comparisons to Close Encounters of the Third Kind as well as 2002’s Signs are in order, what make this films special is Peele’s unique perspective. Which worked so well in the horror genre, actually works wonders in the sci-fi world too. Much like Jaws had to rely on the John Williams score because the shark prop was never ready, instead of showing clearly the source of the terror until the third act, Sound Designer Johnnie Burn brings a magnificent and eerie tone that carries on throughout the film. The only elements that don’t carry over too well is some of the CGI, and maybe that was part of the point Peele is trying to make with some of the themes including exploitation of minorities and animals on film, but some of that early CG comes off as a bit distracting. Also a little flat is Kaluuya’s performance, I understand he is supposed to be the strong silent type counter to Keke Palmer’s loud and wild attitude. But since he is one of the main cast I wished he brought a bit more emotion before the final moments of the film.
Nothing however can take away the masterclass of filmmaking Jordan Peele brings to the screen. Nope is incredibly entertaining, genuinely creepy at times and the nods to Westerns lands so well, I kind of want him to make his version of a Western next. Til then, get swept up in this phenomenal film that will surely have some people once again looking to the skies in wonder.