Quick-Thoughts: Jordan Peele’s Nope

“You don’t look like a nobody.”

The second act of Jordan Peele’s Nope is my favorite thing that the modern auteur has crafted thus far. From the reveal of the full “Gordy” incident – the balloon popping, the curtains compositionally obscuring the POV, the CGI chimpanzee effects, woah! – to the Jean Jacket remix of Corey Hart’s Sunglasses at Night – the heroes’ house becoming “marked” as they work out the kinks of learning to dare look at their opponent – this is optimum horror filmmaking that doesn’t miss a beat in its execution. Can’t not mention its mesial portion as well, with its advance construction of claustrophobia during, let’s just say, an exploited spectacle. It’s borderline biblical.

The rest is good too. The initial act opens with a classic Peele dolly-in that grips you this time with the iconic Horse in Motion from 1878 – the first live-action moving picture in cinematic history – being absorbed by something… From there on forward we get the usual horror set-up with a series of foreshadowing and red herrings; these false alarms, however, are almost just as carefully crafted as the real ones. Howbeit, every little reference to human nature that Peele wants to hammer home then gets a bit slovenly thrown at you in the third act, and its tonal shift – this time very Spielberg-ian – is not coalesced that methodically from what it proceeds. Nevertheless, the allegorical atmosphere that Peele creates from this picture as a whole, for the most part, succeeds as a haunting impression of a socially deceased one, a graveyard population looking away from truth to lie in peace.

For me, every Jordan Peele movie thus far has had concepts worthy of building towards a masterpiece. Nobody just thinks “how about a UFO that e****s the v****s of its v*****s, an intentionally s*******c-looking a****l?” to strengthen his messages. The man is clearly operating on a higher level creatively than most Hollywood artists out there and has about a hundred more personal thoughts to share than them as well, even if most of it boils down to simply pointing out his facts and letting us then independently chew on them. An artist this deserving finally getting the chance to direct a near hundred-million-dollar project, one furthermore devoted to something this ambitious that you can watch worldwide in an IMAX theater of anything, is really just a sight to behold in terms of today’s cinematic landscape. 

Verdict: B

2022 Ranked, Jordan Peele Ranked

“Nope” is now playing in theaters.

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