The Stream: The different story elements don’t really come together.
The Big Screen: The acting, special effects and story are all intriguing and well done.
The Final Bill: Not the horror movie you’re expecting, but it’s still entertaining.– Trip Fontaine and S2S: Movie Review
Director: Jordan Peele
Writers: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, and
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Rating: R for language throughout and some violence/bloody images.
Runtime: 2 hours 3 minutes
Production Companies: Monkeypaw Productions, Universal Pictures
Platform: Only in theaters
Notable Trailers: Oppenheimer, Don’t Worry Darling, Halloween Ends
Hey, Streamers! One of this summer’s most anticipated releases is finally in theaters. I’m talking about the latest film from Jordan Peele, Nope. It’s been shrouded in such secrecy. It really is better to go into a movie not knowing everything that’s going to happen, and Peele has a knack for surprising audiences. Think back to when you first saw Get Out. Well, anyway, we’ve been thinking about Jordan Peele’s latest release ever since we saw it. (It’s taken a bit to put out thoughts in writing.) Here’s whether Nope made us shriek, “Nope!”
I want to avoid spoilers, but if you’ve seen the trailer, you might have some preconceived notions about what you’ll get from Nope. Here’s the gist: OJ Haywood Jr.(Daniel Kaluuya) and his sister, Emerald (Keke Palmer), run a horse ranch that supplies horses for Hollywood shoots. The ranch is secluded in inland California. A strange presence looms over the ranch, which may be more menacing than the Haywoods first imagine. Mysterious hijinks ensue.
A lot of people have big expectations when a new movie from the acclaimed writer/director, Jordan Peele, comes out. Nope mostly hits the mark here. Peele has crafted an intriguing story that seems pretty simple initially, but it has divergent elements. The main cast is very good, especially Keke Palmer. Keke Palmer injects a feisty energy to every moment she is on screen. Her character has strength and a magnetism that draws the audience in. She also works well to balance the more stoic performance from Daniel Kaluuya. He has sad eyes and a quiet power. Palmer and Kaluuya do well with their brother-sister dynamic. You can understand what’s bonded them even though they seem to be on different paths. Also, there are good special effects here. The looming presence is threatening, but not in an obvious way. The vastness and seclusion of the setting adds to that ominous and eerie feeling. Peele keeps you on your toes and these elements of the movie heighten the tension.
What’s a little more confusing is the meaning of it all. Sometimes movies are just movies and don’t have to have a big overarching theme. I think you can go to Nope and just enjoy the entertainment and spectacle of it. Jordan Peele does have more to say than just that, but it is not entirely clear. Nevertheless, it is enough to make you keep thinking about Nope and keep talking about what it all means. Maybe even try a second viewing, who knows? And that too much thinking just makes the movie not so scary. We battled to think is this a horror movie. The obvious answer is yes, of course. But the reality is the movie isn’t scary, for the traditional horror fan. If you are out there searching for UFOs, this movie will only bolster your search.
Ultimately, Nope is an entertaining and intriguing film. It has a strong cast and is filled with tension. That menacing presence promised by the trailers comes through even if it doesn’t rise to the level of the horror flick like you might expect. You may struggle with finding the meaning of it all, but that doesn’t affect the entertainment value of the movie. Yep, I’ve struggled with rating Nope, but I guess I suggest a bowl of popcorn for Nope. Now go catch that matinee ASAP and I don’t want a nope for an answer.