Home Pay off Jordan Peele’s Nope Looks Spectacular But Doesn’t Deliver

Jordan Peele’s Nope Looks Spectacular But Doesn’t Deliver


NO (15, 130 min) Sci-Fi/Horror/Thriller. Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Jacob Kim, Wrenn Schmidt, Keith David. Director: Jordan Peele.

Released: August 12

ACTOR and comedian Jordan Peele launched urgent cultural curation on interracial dynamics with his 2017 horror film Get Out starring Daniel Kaluuya as a photographer, who foolishly agrees to visit his white girlfriend’s family in upstate New York.

Peele won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.

Its dizzying success drew parallels with the meteoric rise of M Night Shyamalan in 1999, which toasted Hollywood with the supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense.

Shyamalan’s third feature after Haley Joel Osment saw dead people was the confused encounter with alien Signs.

Spookyly, Peele’s highly anticipated sequel to Get Out and Us is also a second-hand close encounter, imagining first contact with aliens as a cross-species showdown, captured on large format IMAX cameras by interstellar cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema.

Nope looks spectacular on the big screen, augmented with hypnotic visual effects that echo the grandeur of Arrival.

For the opening hour, Peele’s script teases an otherworldly mystery, intercut with disturbing flashbacks to a horrific incident on the set of a family sitcom called Gordy’s Home.

Alas, the writer-director manhandles the pay-off (like Shyamalan) and overloads a confusing second half with ideas that lack cohesion.

Is this Peele’s best work to date? No. Does the conclusion offer satisfying thrills? No. Does the overall ambition largely exceed the firmness of a filmmaker? Yeah.

OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) and his rambunctious sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) inherit the family ranch – Haywood’s Hollywood Horses – from their old man (Keith David), who is killed by debris falling from the sky.

The siblings struggle to keep the business afloat and honor a rich cinematic heritage that dates back to one of the earliest examples of the moving image: the series of photographs of a galloping horse by English artist Eadweard Muybridge. .

OJ and Emerald proudly claim that the black jockey depicted in The Horse In Motion was their ancestor.

The Haywoods are under pressure to sell the ranch to former child actor Jupe Park (Steven Yeun), who runs the Jupiter’s Claim theme park on nearby land with his wife Amber (Wrenn Schmidt).

When all hope seems lost, the Haywoods discover an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) hovering over their property.

The siblings approach electronics salesman Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) and famed cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) to help them capture lucrative footage from the otherworldly watchers.

Nope has the scope and visual spectacle of a summer blockbuster featuring nightmarish scenes of humans and cattle being sucked into the air.

Kaluuya’s taciturn performance contrasts with Palmer’s boundless exuberance which injects energy at key moments when the pace dips to a slow crawl.

If The X-Files was correct and the truth is out there, the evidence is slippery and frustrating and elusive in Peele’s film.

Rating: 3 stars