Nope ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

About halfway through Nope — Jordan Peele’s sci-fi Western horror follow-up to Us and Get Out, centered around two Black siblings training horses for Hollywood projects — Emerald (Keke Palmer) explains to her curt brother OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) why she lives such a disappointed life. Their father Otis (Keith David) promised her a horse of her own, but instead brought OJ in on training him for work on The Scorpion King, as a father-son project. Ever since then, she’s only been nominally interested in the family business.

As she tells her story, the lens tightens around Emerald’s face while tears stream down her cheeks. OJ sits, tight-jawed, aware of his sister’s anguish but unable to emotionally engage with her. The scene captures the siblings’ broad beats, but its deployment so late in the film keeps it from landing with the force Peele probably hoped for. It’s a recurring issue throughout Nope.

Maybe that running lack of impact has to do with Peele’s unwillingness to let Nope tell a story beyond winking references. Maybe it’s because he’s uninterested in exploring the inner lives of his characters, who largely coast on repetitive punchlines and cloying sentimentality. But the biggest surprise of the tight-lipped Nope is that it’s Jordan Peele’s weakest film. [full review via Polygon]

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