Jordan Peele Delivers Another Terrific Thriller with Nope

Jordan Peele Delivers Another Terrific Thriller with Nope ...

Jordan Peele's work is always backed up by confidence. Here is a director who wants to make things happen, with the talent and eye to bring them to life. There are longstretches of his new filmNope when you feel like you are in the hands of a virtuoso, one who knows exactly what to show and what not to show, when to cut and when not to cut, and when to shock the audience with a skillful plot twist.

Nope is a science fiction picture stuffed with incredible suspense sequences and touching on our collective desire for fame. Only someone with supreme confidence in his work would give it the nameNope. If he did, he would hand every critic the headline of their negative reviews. This isnt the case here: every new scene offers an image of beauty or nightmarish terror or both.

Peele explains these concepts in the lives of two brothers, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer). Six months ago, their father died in a strange accident and left them the family business: A ranch in Agua Dulce used for training horses to work in films. Muybridge became one of the pioneers of filmmaking, but according to Emerald, it was her and OJ's great-grandfather that established Haywoods Hollywood Horses.

OJ and Emerald do what any young, broken individuals would do: go to a big electronics store, load up on security cameras, and try to sell aliens for a fortune.

The rest of Peeles' surprises, including the very nature of that unidentified flying object, will be left for you to discover yourself. While I have to assume Peeles' eventual explanation for what's going on with that unidentified flying object has been used previously by someone in the long history of science fiction stories, I've never seen it before.

Peele has the confidence to translate his tales completely in his spare time. He spends significant time with OJ and Emerald, and introduces several other key supporting characters, including Jupe, who has an asad background as a child actor that doesnt necessarily reflect the plot in the present, but does nonetheless inform the narrative thatNope is attempting to achieve by involving everyone from actors to animals in a mythicSaturday Night Livesketch from the 1990s.

Peeles' work might not be quite as special in another era. He is certainly not the first to create horror films that are both beautiful and chilling, or to use horror and science-fiction stories as allegories for larger and ugly action films. But today, when so much of what makes it into theaters is now, hedoes appear to be operating on a different level than almost all of his peers.

Nope is never too gruesome or bloody for the purpose of enthusing the audience. Some of its finest scenes are when we remove it from sight while we are desperately trying to avoid seeing something terrible.

My initial reaction to Peeles's final scenes was a bit depressing, considering that some of the film's major moments took place on this first viewing. One key character, played by Michael Wincott, gets a lot less screen time and less details than the rest of the cast, which also hurts the climactic showdown.

The more I sat with the film, the more I found myself returning to the working sequences (and I meanreallywork), and to the way all of Nopesstories and characters create a self-portrait of an uncaring entertainment business that is continually seeking new targets to chew up. It eats them all. Sometimes, it engulfed them all.

RATING: 8/10

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