PG Score: 8/10
Nope was released in theaters on 7/22/22
Writer/Director Jordan Peele (Get Out and Us) takes extraterrestrial terror into uncharted territory with a thrilling concoction of horror, sci-fi, mystery, and comedy. The adept genre-juggling is only rivaled by his bold direction. He has never been afraid to take big swings and in Nope, he aims for the fences.
The filmmaker’s third project centers on siblings OJ and Emerald Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) as they tend to their horse ranch in California. Their everyday life is thrown into a tailspin when they make an earth-shattering discovery that drastically alters their perception of reality.
The movie reaches the end credits at just over the two-hour mark and gains momentum each step of the way. As the excitement cranks up, more clues are revealed as to what exactly the Haywoods are dealing with. It is a relatively straightforward outing, but it should come as a surprise to no one that Peele has a trick or two up his sleeve to throw even the most discerning moviegoer off the scent. The pacing is aided by the engaging visuals and staggering scope, which come courtesy of excellent special effects and camerawork. The talented Director of Photography Hoyte van Hoytema captures the sprawling Western backdrop with a combination of stunning overhead and wide shots.
Nope is very different from Peele’s first two films. His willingness to venture outside familiar frameworks and push new material to its limit is part of what makes his brand of cinema so compelling. He turns conventional ideas on their heads, then spins them around for good measure. While his latest experiment is bound to keep viewers guessing, it places more importance on enjoying the ride than solving the puzzle. There are a few intense sequences, but it is a surprisingly easygoing affair thanks to the humor.
The comedic kingpin arrives in the form of Brandon Perea, who delivers a breakout performance as Angel. Formerly best known for his work in The OA, the up-and-coming actor is hilarious as an electronics store employee devoted to helping OJ and Emerald. Keke Palmer gives a career-best showing as she brings an irresistible energy to her character. Daniel Kaluuya offers a quietly powerful portrayal of the subdued protagonist.
Peele Does It Again
Peele treats audiences to another masterful mixture of thrills and laughter. He keeps his cards just close enough to his chest until the inevitable moment he pulls out all the stops, and his timing is impeccable. Elevated by lively performances and brilliant cinematography, Nope is truly out of this world.