“You can never go wrong with a fried fish sandwich.” [PREACH]
Story: Think I’m telling you, or even giving you a hint? Nope. You’ll thank me later.
Genre I’d put it in: Jordan Peele mind-blowers
Release Date: 2022
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Original. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Gotta say: For those of you whose minds are puréed oatmeal after the craziness that’s been the past several years, Nope is Jordan Peele’s third directors credit. And damn if the man didn’t bring his A-game yet again. Yes there will definitely be times when you are watching this film and things like “What…?” “How…?” “Why…?” “But…?” will pop into your head. And that’s to be expected; this is the Jordan Peele joint, so there’s going to be moments where, like his earlier films, Peele wants you to sit and think about stuff rather than spoon-feeding you. He wants you to roll around those screen moments in your brain parts, and discuss them with folks. And believe me, my screening buddies had lots to chatter about outside the theater. I’m betting you will too.
This review is going to be a rough one, as I don’t want to spoil anything for you by even sharing a whiff of what’s in store when you sit yourself down at the multiplex. So let’s focus on the basics, shall we? The cinematography is crisp and clear, with a look that echoes classic CinemaScope productions and early Spielberg blockbusters. Sound editing is particularly important in this story, and even the quiet parts are chock full of almost subliminal sounds that keep your attention as well as freak you the hell out. Gore? Um. Yes and no? Depends on what you mean by that. But the FX is excellent, and again harks back to 70s Spielberg. I’ve said too much…
The performances are top-notch. As always, Daniel Kaluuya is amazing as Our Lead Guy. He delivers a masterclass in silent emoting, and his ability to project humor and horror is something to behold. The other two in the trio of above-the-title performers, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun, deliver amazing performances as well. Though their character traits are vastly different, their storylines give them plenty to work with, they both dig in with gusto. I hope they’re quickly added to Peele’s stable of top-notch talent. Shout outs to Keith David, one of my favorite character actors, and Euphoria star Barbie Ferreira, who both steal the spotlight in their scenes.
Nope delivers something I thought I’d never see; an interesting new look at horror tropes I thought were long pounded into the ground by overuse. The themes of our fascination with all forms of spectacle, how we react to/live in our world, and how we as a species react to all manner of things, will give fans and grad students much to chew on for years to come. This film is both of its time and timeless. Damn Peele, you did good.
But y’know… Just stay away from anything that even hints of what’s going on in this film before you go. You’ll want to go in as blank-slate as possible. You’re welcome.
#Protip: if you stick around through the end credits – and you don’t have to there’s no stinger – you’ll notice that Rock and Wrap It Up! is thanked. Such a fantastic organization, and I’m glad Peele and his co-creators decided to let them in on their catering action. Just one more reason why Peele is awesome.