NOPE – A Review by Cynthia Flores
The lead in this film, Daniel Kaluuya, had never ridden a horse before. So he had to train for over a month to get used to being on and around them. In Jordan Peele’s new film Nope, the horses are costars and also scared shitless as something from the sky is on the hunt.
Nope is the story of OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya), and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) dealing with the Hollywood Haywards trained horses business after the mysterious death of their dad Otis (Keith David). OJ was with Otis the night metal objects rained down on their ranch in a lonely gulch in inland California. Their only neighbors are a family that runs a tourist ghost town park. It is headed by Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun). He was a famous kid actor that was a witness to a brutal incident on the sitcom’s tv stage. But that is all I will say about that plot twist.
The Haywood business is in trouble when Emerald comes home to help and pick up a few things from the ranch. She is the outgoing, fast-talking sibling with a bunch of side hustles. While OJ is the quiet and observant sibling that worked the ranch and trained the horses with Otis. Everything is looking pretty grim. OJ even has to sell horses to Ricky, promising to buy them back once he makes more money. He thinks Ricky is adding the horses to the show, and in a way, he is.
One night OJ and Emerald see something in the sky that scares them but also gives them hope. Emerald tells OJ that there is money to be made to get the first clear footage of UFOs. OJ agrees to do it to save the ranch, and Emerald just wants the cash. They go to Frys and buy the gear but don’t know how to set it up. That is where Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) comes in. He is the Frys technology tech who comes to the ranch to set it up. He is curious that all the cameras are pointed up to the sky. Being a techie nerd and a conspiracy theorist, he gets sucked into this attempt to capture the money shot. Nothing goes right with the setup, so Emerald reaches out to renowned cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott), an esoteric artist pulled into the group with the promise of getting “THE SHOT” of all time.
I won’t go into any more details, so I can’t give away any spoilers. Let’s just say you will laugh, scream, and sometimes sit on the edge of your seat as this group of people try to get footage of what is up in the sky above their ranch.
I liked this film because Jordan Peele knows how to do a proper homage to a specific genre of film. Unlike other directors that just outright steal whole setups and scenes from old movies, can you say Tarantino? Mr. Peel knows how to take a feeling or moment in a classic film and make it his own. In Nope, I saw a nod to classic alien invasion films such as 1963’s The Day of the Triffids and 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He uses ideas from those films and puts his humorous spin on them. Because of the humor and lack of violent, angry gore, I would pin this film more in the Thriller category. Which I think opens it up to a broader audience. Either way, just go and buy your bucket of popcorn and enjoy this fun film with an excellent soundtrack.
I give Nope 4-stars. It’s meant to be experienced in an IMAX theater and a good addition to Jordan Peele’s growing list of films that make you look at things a bit differently.
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Written by: Jordan Peele
Running Time: 2h 10min
Horror/ Thriller/ Sci-Fi
Wide Release: Only in theaters July 22nd
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Steven Yeun
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.