Tuesday, December 27, 2022


There's quite a bit worth noting about writer/director Jordan Peele's NOPE which touches on themes of spectacle and exploitation, the legacy of film, and science fiction. While the individual parts of the film, highlighted by some terrific scenes, are better than the combined whole, the film still delivers an interesting take on the fascination of UFOs and fame.

We get Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer as the children of a longtime rancher (Keith David) who years ago started the family business of raising and training horses for Hollywood films. After his freak death (which could easily have been a movie unto itself - a common theme in this script), the siblings discover something looming in the skies above their ranch.

Added to the mix are an electronic store employee (Brandon Perea) with an interest in aliens who weasels his way into the the pair's attempts to capture proof of the UFO while installing new cameras at the ranch and a cinematographer (Michael Wincott) lured into the siblings' plans by the idea of capturing the impossible on camera. We're also given a plot involving the sole-survivor (Steven Yeun) of a television show killed off by its chimpanzee co-star who went berserk decades earlier.

Peele covers quite a bit of ground in the script which plays best when it focuses on the lengths people will go to achieve fame and prestige (even recklessly putting their own safety in danger) and in the alien itself which gives us the basic shape of a classic flying saucer with a twist or two include it's adept ability to hide itself in the clouds above the ranch. Equally affective, and teased nearly as much, are the scenes from the chimp attack and its immediate aftermath.

NOPE is an unusual movie to rate as so much of it works well when examined separately but the various aspects don't ultimately all fit together as well as I'd like. The result is a good film that entertains while consistently teasing us with aspects (a scene here or there, a camera shot, some set design, the framing of the film's tenser moments, the alien's attacks, and more) that stand-out because the rest of the film can't quite keep up that heightened level throughout. It's highs are greater than it's lows, but the film never can quite find the consistency to elevate NOPE from an interesting film into a remarkable one.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: NOPE
  • IMDb: link

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