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‘Nope’ movie review: Jordan Peele does it again in masterful spectacle

How to even describe Nope?

Not quite a horror, not quite a thriller, not quite a comedy, but somehow all three, Jordan Peele‘s latest movie resists categorization. Captivating from scene one, Nope, like Get Out and Us before it, races by in a blink. Along the way, the audience is treated to a visual feast of colour and weirdly simplistic grandiosity — and trust, the effects team spared no effort on this movie.

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It’s difficult to talk about the film without spoiling it, so here are the bare bones of the plot: the movie follows siblings OJ and Emerald Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer), who are saddled (sorry) with their family’s show-horse business and ranch after their father suddenly dies. So basic, you might think. Nope, Nope goes much, much deeper.

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What do you mean by that?

There is a lot going on throughout the movie. While it may not be outwardly clear, as in all of Peele’s films, there is an undercurrent of societal commentary. Animal cruelty, familial connection, Hollywood, Black history and representation — each of these topics, and much more, are addressed in one way or another. In some instances, it’s not subtle, but in others, it takes several hours after watching Nope for it to really sink in. If there’s a candidate for a second (or third or fourth) viewing, it’s this movie.

Is it scary?

In some scenes, yes. Like turn-away-from-the-screen tense and scary. Gore is kept to a minimum, but there are a few particularly brutal moments, so be prepared for that.

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How are Kaluuya and Palmer?

Their brother-and-sister relationship is so spot-on, it’s a wonder they’re not actually related. They are foils to one another; Kaluuya’s serious, intense stare is so expressive and perfect, and Palmer’s high-energy, take-no-prisoners attitude gives the movie zest and some of its much-needed levity. Steven Yeun, as a former child star-turned-amusement park host, is terrific as well.

How creative is the plot?

So creative that I’m not sure how Peele comes up with this stuff. In a world of rote superhero movies and remakes, it’s so refreshing to see something original pushing the boundaries of cinema. Peele’s work is so standout and so distinctly his, he’s on his way to becoming one of the masters of the craft. It may sound like hyperbole, and it may be the result of so much the same thing over and over in theatres, but Nope is both fun and engrossing, something that most movies nowadays are not. The deafening praise from critics is happening for a reason — more of this please, Hollywood!

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You mentioned effects. What sorts of things can we expect?

There are multiple scenes where the theatre audience audibly gasped. Truly jaw-dropping spectacle and visual effects. In a way, it reminded me of the first time I saw E.T., the first time I saw the UFO and watched Elliott take off and fly on his bicycle.

The movie goes to places you never thought it would go; so many disparate ideas melded into an eventual outcome that it’s hard to encapsulate. Dozens of people sat in their seats dumbfounded after the movie was over, a testament to the journey it takes you on. My biggest recommendation is to avoid spoilers and go in clear. This is a film you want to see without any preconceptions.

What’s the bottom line?

Nope is the best movie of the year so far, there really is no comparison. Younger, older, movie snob or no, it should appeal to all audiences. Do yourself a favour and get tickets now. You won’t regret it.

‘Nope’ is now playing in theatres across Canada. Please check local listings for details.

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