Nope is Jordan Peele’s Jaws. There’s no other way to put it. When Jaws was released, it had everyone scared of swimming in the ocean, after watching Nope, people will be afraid to look up to the sky. This film has so many underlying themes that numerous rewatches will be required to get the full Nope experience. Thanks to an outstanding performance from Keke Palmer, some great direction and a well-crafted story, Nope is another hit for Jordan Peele and a must-see this summer.
The greatest strength of this film is undoubtedly the acting. While the Oscar-winning Daniel Kaluuya turns in a nuanced yet deep and emotional performance, it’s Keke Palmer who is the true standout. She portrays Emerald Haywood, the sister of Kaluuya’s OJ Haywood. Palmer gives it her all in this film and the end result is a charismatic, eccentric and VERY likeable protagonist. Palmer manages to have perfect comedic timing while also evoking feelings of fear. I believe Palmer has given us the best performance of her career so far in portraying one of my favourite horror characters in recent memory.
Jordan Peele’s direction in Nope is also his strongest. You can tell that a lot of thought and effort went into creating the film’s atmosphere and keeping the audience on the edge of its seat. From the excellent sound design to the use of silence and music, everything comes together to immerse you into this film and make you feel like you are on Haywood Ranch.
Something else I appreciated was the breakdown of the film. The film is broken down into segments and each one is named after a character of significance in the film. There is so much going on in this film that this format helps to bring it all together in a cohesive manner that makes it easier to digest the content.
Visually, this film is Peele’s best work. He makes fantastic use of on-location filming and lack of green screens but the true standout here is the use of IMAX. I honestly don’t remember when IMAX was used so well in a film (save for films like No Way Home which were filmed entirely in IMAX). The expanded ratio, although not used from start to finish, is used in many crucial scenes, and makes the film feel like a work of art while also immersing you in the world of this film.
As much as I adore the film, I will admit that the script and the subplot could have been better. The script, while creative, doesn’t hit the right notes all the time and it could easily leave viewers with more questions than answers by the time it’s done. The Gordy’s Home subplot was something that sources told me was an issue in test screenings and is still a minor problem in the final film. I think that the idea of a murderous chimp going crazy on the set of television and how it affects young children could have been better executed and tied into the main plot of the film. However, I think that this potential was untapped and thus, we’re left with a subplot that could have easily been its own film. I was also told recently from a source who saw Nope in May that there were portions of this subplot that were cut from the final film so maybe those scenes would have improved on that subplot. If Peele ever decides to release them, then we’ll know for sure.
In short, Nope is better than Us but not as good as Get Out. It’s Jordan Peele’s best directed film but his weakest script. However, I can easily overlook the weak subplot and script because Peele created a true summer blockbuster that is meant for the big screen. See it in IMAX if you can because even though this movie is called Nope, it should actually be called Yup.