Jordan Peele’s Nope (2022) is one of the best cinematic experiences I’ve had in a long time. The screening I attended was a pretty packed house, and this is a film that benefits from crowd reactions. We laughed, we screamed, and we sat with quiet anxiety through so much tension all – in unison. Get Out (2017) and Us (2019) were both fantastic, but Nope is Peele’s masterpiece, and it cements him as a master of both the genre and cinema.
OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) runs a horse ranch that specializes in cinematic training. However, something is amiss at the lonely gulch in inland California that’s home to the ranch and a new theme park. OJ and his sister, Emerald (Keke Palmer), set out to solve whatever is going on in an attempt to save their home and business.
Kaluuya has proven time and time again that he is one of the most interesting actors to watch. He brings so much to the screen with even the tiniest of movements. A shoulder shrug, a tilted head with the raising of the eyes, and a subtle utterance of a phrase from Kaluuya can do more for a scene than what many other actors may try and do. There is something inherently compelling about his style, and Peele seems to know how to tap into it for maximum effect. Palmer is also incredible in this film, and the chemistry they have makes the stakes of the film land in huge ways. There is so much investment in the characters that the audience is leaning in as the tension is built. It’s one hell of a ride that Peele and the cast take us on.
That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement or criticism. Some elements of the story seem to not be fully realized, or the connections between pieces of the story seem almost forgotten at points. We get a few flashbacks that feel a tad unnecessary to the overall point the film is making. Also present is the issue many horror films struggle with: if you put too much of a microscope on the logic of the story, it begins to fall apart. While all of these things may be true or may require multiple viewing to truly grasp, it ultimately doesn’t matter. This film is an experience, and in the heat of the story, those little nitpicks don’t do anything to derail the thrill ride Peele has created.
To continue with my bad dad jokes, I’m saying a resounding YES to NOPE! I loved this movie, and can’t wait to see it again. If it is safe for you to venture out to the theater to see this with a crowd, it’ll be well worth your time. It is a horror sci-fi movie, so if that genre doesn’t appeal to you, it may not get the same reaction out of you as it did for me. However, if you’re a fan of the genre, it’ll be hard to find a better example in recent memory. Nope earns the Must See rating.