Nope (2022)

nope poster 2022 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Lots of themes, tension, and concepts to explore

More ambiguous than previous films

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Nope

Studio:  Universal Pictures/Dentsu/Monkeypaw Productions

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s):  July 18, 2022 (Premiere)/July 22, 2022 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

nope em oj keke palmer daniel kaluuya

Ready for a bunch of ideas, plus a monster?

Otis “OJ” Haywood Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) finds himself trying to keep his family ranch in operation since it has been around since Hollywood’s inception as former child star Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) and his ranch-amusement park encroaches on the land.  OJ discovers something is happening in the sky around the ranch and his father Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David) might have been the first to find out about it.  Teamed with his sister Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer) and a Fry’s Electronics employee named Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) are out to prove what is happening…but OJ, Em, and Angel don’t know what they might be up against.

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Nope is a science fiction horror mystery thriller.  The film received mostly positive reviews but was divisive on the script.

nope oj daniel kaluuya

Don’t look up

I had to think a lot about Nope after leaving it.  Even after a week, I was still unsure.  I think I liked it, but it is much more ambiguous than Peele’s two previous films.  Due to aspects of the script, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

Like Get Out and Us, the movie doesn’t go as you think it will, but it isn’t necessarily a twist as much as a bait-and-switch.  Peele generally does a lot of themes in his movies and that isn’t different in this movie.  There are themes of “bad miracles”, rewriting of history (aka the Haywood’s contribution to film), and largely the idea of taming something wild.  Jupe to believe that surviving one tragedy makes him invincible to death…which he pays for. OJ realizes that animals are animals, and that they must be respected because they are dangerous…it leads to a big showdown for the “perfect shot” and a shot for Em to show her mettle.  It isn’t as nice and easily explained and left up for more interpretation.

nope cloud jean jacket

What’s in the clouds?

The cast is great.  Daniel Kaluuya plays the solemn and quiet OJ while Keke Palmer is a scene stealer as the impatient and loud Em that is hurting in her own way by ignoring her past.  I like Steven Yeun’s Jupe, but I wish that Jupe and his story was more involved.  Michael Wincott plays the obsessed cinematographer (who also could have been better incorporated).  Brandon Perea is an added character that feels like he has no skin in the game (to quote Em) as the Fry’s Electronics employee who wants to help prove the existence of the creature.

The movie in its country meets sci-fi look has its own niche.  It is a rather simple set-up but does great to utilize the vast countryside of California. Peele gets terror and the simple terror can be more intense.  The appearance of Jupe’s family posing as aliens is terrifying and tense (especially since they hadn’t really been introduced).  The creature itself (nicknamed Jean Jacket) has the UFO form and the angel form.  The angel idea was intentional to give the impression of the Rapture…but of course the characters get horribly ground up by Jean Jacket for food.  It is meant to have a look like the alien ship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind…big and epic, but in this case a wild beast.

nope jean jacket ship

Cowboys & Aliens Part II!

Nope is by no means perfect.  I like that the film set-up is almost like Jupe and his family would be the main characters in a classic narrative as they try to communicate with the alien (Jupe has an unspoken plan for the creature before he is consumed), but instead, you get the story from the perspective of the neighbors (kind of like if Poltergeist had been about the Freeling’s neighbors).  I feel think there are multiple plot holes in the film which is problematic.  If an entire theme park and guest disappear, police would check out the neighboring farms…one of which happens to be covered in blood and personal effects of the missing people.  Plus, the idea of a single cloud hanging out in the often completely cloudless California sky might attract some attention.  Little aspects like that don’t ruin the movie, but they do keep it from being a perfect film.  I’ll see Nope again at some point to see how it holds up.  I might like it better…or it still might hang as a question like Jean Jacket in the sky.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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