Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, and Michael Wincott
Director: Jordan Peele
Nope may not boast the subtext of Get Out or the ambition of Us, but it’s every bit as worthy of the praise heaped upon it. Expertly shot by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema and featuring stellar sound design, filmmaker Jordan Peele’s latest is a genuine thrill ride meant to be seen on the largest theater screen possible. Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya hold the gaze of every gorgeous frame even as scene-stealer Brandon Perea shares it, and the set-pieces are as tense as the best of Peele’s other works. This is the quintessential summer thriller of 2022.
Filmmaker Jordan Peele has mastered the intense slow burn. His third directorial outing, Nope, takes every second of its 131-minute runtime to engulf your attention and immerse you into this world. That same care is taken with its endearing cast too. Peele capitalizes on each actors’ strength, fully utilizing Keke Palmer’s charm, Daniel Kaluuya’s stoicism, Michael Wincott’s intensity, and Brandon Perea’s earnestness, all of which aid in marrying you to this harmonious ensemble through a story that is best entered sight unseen. Jordan Peele’s mind is wild, and Nope officially places him amongst the ranks of best event-movie directors.
From a technical perspective, Nope is probably filmmaker Jordan Peele’s best film yet. You can really see his growth as a filmmaker in the imagery, cinematography, and use of light and sound. From an entertainment standpoint, while Nope is still good, it’s also the weakest of his three offerings. It’s slow moving enough that the film feels longer than it actually is, and it feels so much like Signs that the originality Peele is known for takes a bit of a backseat. Again though, let me reiterate, it’s still good and worth your time; it’s just not as good as Us or Get Out.
Nope is out of this world, and big ol’ YUP in my book. It’s this generation's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but with enough originality to make it one of the most stunning and eerie films in recent memory. Unfortunately, I was never fully invested in these characters, which kept me in the clouds throughout the film, but that doesn’t take away from the great direction of Jordan Peele, the amazing sound design, or the performances. You will look up into the sky differently after seeing this flick.
Insert obligatory “more like ‘Yup’” joke here. But seriously, Nope truly is great. It’s not perfect in any sense of the word, as the characters are kinda one-note and don’t have much of an arc, but Nope is all about spectacle. Writer/director Jordan Peele definitely delivers on that front. Visually, it looks stunning, thanks in part to cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, and it’s one of those movies that I feel benefits from an IMAX screen. Plus, as is always the case with Peele, it’s a well-written and creepy puzzle box of a film with layers that may take multiple viewings to peel off.