Nope, a 3.5-star rating for the film
I’m going to make this review as short as possible because I honestly don’t think I can sit through it again to write up a longer review. If you want the long version, my initial impression of the movie was that it was just terrible, and while that opinion has somewhat changed, I still don’t like it at all and can’t even imagine ever watching it again.
Nope is a new movie that came out this week. It’s about a group of friends who go on a road trip together. I didn’t like it. The acting was terrible, and the plot was really predictable. I would not recommend this movie to anyone.
I can’t even remember the characters’ names. That’s how forgettable they were. The protagonist was some guy and the love interest was some girl. That’s all I got. Even when I googled the movie afterward, I couldn’t find anything about the characters that made them stand out.
I was really hoping that Nope would be a good movie. I mean, it had a decent trailer and seemed like it could be fun. But nope. This movie was terrible. It was so boring and forgettable that I can’t even tell you what it’s about. If you’re thinking about seeing Nope, just don’t bother. You’ll be better off watching paint dry.
The men wearing cowboy hats against horses, the vastness of the land and sky, the stately home, and the porch with a long view into the distance are the first things that catch your eye. Familiar? Take another look. Jordan Peele won’t allow it any other way, after all. Once you’ve done that and have re-looked, you’ll be unable to ignore what is most striking about that scene: the fact that the men on the horses are Black. Blacks are still outsiders in the ranches where countless people were used as slaves.
In several of Peele’s movies, the insider who is an outsider is a reoccurring theme. After Get Out and Us, Nope is the third on that list. Nope is a remarkable addition to his genre, especially in the relentless beauty and breathtaking horror of its spectacle. It is more ambitious than his other movies while also failing to successfully cross the fault lines.
A term that is essential to Nope is that. The Hebrew Bible chapter Nahum (3:6) begins the movie with the following words: “I will cast abhorrent filth upon you, make you vile, and make you a spectacle.”
The central question of Nope is who is casting the filth, who is the spectacle, and how the roles are reversed in a world where we are all watching each other’s lives more and more.
People experience horrible things and also commit terrible acts. Nope’s taut but still somewhat protracted length is jam-packed with humor and pathos, drama and silliness, action, and occasionally agonizing stillness. There are too many of those UFOs and not enough people fighting them. The use of titles to divide the plot into sections seems forced and careless. Then there are its characters, each so distinctive and dissimilar from your imagination that you are left wondering why.
And that’s where Peele excels. After his father’s mysterious death, there is a man jokingly known as “OJ” (Otis Junior, played by Daniel Kaluuya) Haywood who oversees the ranch with resignation and stoicism that suggests less the heroism associated with this American frontier and more the futility of it all.
There is also his sister Emerald (Kate Palmer) Haywood, who hangs around and experiments with different endeavors after realizing her own insignificant role in the management of the property. Palmer gives Emerald the perfect amount of sass because she is OJ’s exact opposite and can talk a room full of Hollywood moguls under the table.
The proprietor of the Asian theme park is OJ’s cowboy’s competitor. Jupe (Steven Yeun), who escaped an on-camera chimpanzee massacre on a TV program set, now believes in his own invincibility. Consider the likelihood of discovering a man like Jupe loitering in the midst of nowhere.
One of the characters in the Haywoods’ story is a tech store employee named Angel, played by the superbly nuanced Brandon Perea. After all, who can resist a spectacle?
Then there is Michael Wincott, who portrays a renowned cinematographer who is almost obsessively dedicated to his craft and to very little else. He speaks in a gruff, low voice that seems to be anguished by the need to talk in this manner.
Hollywood itself also stands tall above this lovely Wild West. The Haywoods have a strong connection to it because they have been providing horses to the business for filming for all of the time. They also think their history is connected to the first motion picture, which was only a brief moment. What is, however, mere trivia in the world of show business, is quickly forgotten in favor of the next big thing. Particularly people like them who are on its periphery.
Emerald is struggling to get into it, Jupe is struggling to put it behind him, and OJ is struggling to keep his ranch afloat by finding a job in Hollywood.
Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography is breathtaking, especially when a strange object or creature swims across a nighttime sky in opposition to clouds and dim lights, causing them to go out and then come back on. You almost wish that Peele would stay in the night scenes instead of switching to the day ones, where the use of inflatable men in a desolate landscape is a nice device in and of itself.
Nope’s conceit is: Can you look away from a spectacle even if your life depended on it? What characteristics define a spectacle? What occurs to persons who have their eyesight altered? Additionally, the various levels of alienation determine where we end up.
Is Peele a complete success? Nope. Particularly considering how the writer, director, and producer dragged out the conclusion. But would you turn your gaze away from the specter that stalks the Haywoods and is altering its appearance to become beautiful, horrifying, harsh, and curious? Nope.