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Nope Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : / 5

Nope Movie Review : An immersive voyeuristic thriller that explores survival in the broader sense

Story: Animal wranglers OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and his younger sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) must find ways to support their family’s struggling ranch (Heywood Hollywood Horses). That entails them to sell some of their horses to theme parks, lend some to has-been actors for TV shows and more. If that crisis isn’t enough, they must not only survive but also document the strange happenings they witness in the sky. Is it a flying saucer, UFO or a monster?

Review: The hidden messages, metaphor and socio-political commentary in Jordan Peele’s unnerving and strangely captivating movies (Get Out, Us) provoke you to closely analyse them. The simmering tension following the racially motivated anxiety of being a black person in ‘Get Out’ created a terrifying mood for an outstanding thriller. Keeping with his tone and tradition, Peele’s third film as a director (Nope), also leaves you with questions and speculative theories. Long after the end credits roll, you keep wondering what exactly his thought behind this movie was. Is it just a surface level fight-the-alien movie or more than that?

Nope takes its own sweet time to build a world centred on two siblings, their drastically different energies and outlook on life as well as their crumbling ranch. The open sky, mountains and landscape are key members to the plot as much as the animals and humans. Oh, did we miss out on the aliens? Or are they monsters? The brother-sister chance upon strange sightings in the sky, which turn deadly in no time and capturing ‘it’ on camera is their quick shot at money — The Oprah shot. Do they survive, let alone succeed at this seemingly impossible task?

Miracles need not be good and humans can turn disasters into spectacles for some money and comedy. Though open to various interpretations, Nope works as an immersive thriller that explores survival in the broader sense. A murderous chimpanzee, inflatable dancing men, a flying saucer… Nope unfolds like a puzzle. Not everything connects but it cages you for sure. Our need and nature to document things and milk our terrible life experiences for money and survival stand out amid the various theories that come to mind.

There’s not much that happens throughout and despite this being a slow burn, you don’t look away from the screen even once. This is a triumph for celebrated cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, known for his long association with Christopher Nolan. Hoyte has shot epics like Dunkirk, Interstellar and Tenet using Imax cameras and his outstanding visuals ensure you are glued to the story here. The Imax cameras follow the characters and the sky like a shadow, making you privy to their lives. You closely watch these people watching others and the voyeuristic experience is terrifying and trippy. The incredible sound effects and heart-racing motorcycle-driven set pieces add to the thrill.

Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer exude sibling energy to the T and give us one of the most memorable sibling moments in cinema. The best scenes of the movie see OJ using ‘Nope, not today’, expression with an eye roll … an ode to bad days and bad decisions. Jordan Peele’s Nope is a lot and nothing at the same time. It should be watched on the big screen for its captivating world building more than anything else.

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