Monday, August 1, 2022


Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Steven Yeun
Director: Jordan Peele
Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Rating: R

I was very apprehensive about seeing Jordan Peele's latest film, "Nope". After loving 2017's "Get Out" but being too terrified of the trailer to actually watch 2019's "Us", I was really on the fence. I don't like being scared. I do love a good film. I reluctantly purchased a ticket and sat on the back row, ready to be terrified. Thankfully, the trailer is more frightening than the film. Seeing crazy shots and images out of context had me worried, but the movie is really not all that scary. And it is really good. Not as good as "Get Out," in my opinion (but that is a pretty singular film that he may never top). "Nope" is hard to categorize, which I believe is exactly what Peele was going for. He continues to impress.

My favorite thing about "Nope" was the cinematography. The film is absolutely beautiful. Kudos to cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema for capturing the vastness of this wide, open California ranch, home to Haywood's Hollywood Horses. The Haywood family claim to be direct decendants of the unnamed African American jockey in the famous "Horse in Motion" sequence. One day, some pretty strange things start happening at the ranch - coins fall from the sky, while horses are practically sucked up into the sky. Blackouts ensue and cell phones just stop working. The Haywood siblings, OJ and Emerald (played by Kaluuya and Palmer, respectively), conclude that there must be some UFO activity going on. And they're right.

I don't think I've ever seen a Sci-Fi Western, let alone one with a primarly Black cast. I love how Peele continues to push the status quo in film and create what should be the new norm. Being a big fan of Kaluuya, I was a bit disappointed that this role didn't give him an opportunity to have a big emotional outburst - he played the straight man almost too straight. I've been a fan of Keke Palmer for a long time (her 2007 hit "Bottoms Up" was my jam in college!) but I found her portrayal of the younger sister just a bit too aggressive. It's Steven Yeun who almost steals the show with his character's side story about being a child star who witnesses a chimpanzee attack. That was a very random and welcomed 20 minutes.

Overall, it's a unique spin on a story we've all heard before. I'll never get tired of the "do they really come in peace?" take on aliens, and this is the strongest sci-fi film (if you want to call it that) I've seen since 2016's "Arrival". I applaud Peele for continuing to pick teams of people who are able to execute his brilliant visions. More Peele please. 

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