Nope ★★★★½

I'm not quite sure yet, but I think this is probably my favourite Jordan Peele film to date. It just combines a lot of things I'm really passionate about, and what it does, it does it in such a unique way that makes it utterly irresistible. It also might be Peele's most divisive film to date. This is not a fast-paced thriller blockbuster, this is a more character-driven type of story, hence you need to be patient and get invested in how these characters relate to each other, their interactions, their motivations and their way of dealing with this phenomenon. That's in part why it worked for me. Even in its slow moments, I was 100% invested in these characters and their story, and there's just an uncanny feeling throughout the film that keeps you in constant tension and suspense. If you're patient enough, the payoff will be rewarding. The last thirty minutes or so are mind-blowing. There's no doubt, Peele delivers the spectacle he promised. In fact, this film is about that human need for spectacle. Although, its horror elements may not appeal to everyone. I've read comments of people saying this is not a horror film because it is not scary at all, which is alright. It's all subjective. We aren't scared by the same things, that's how it is. But just because you didn't find it scary doesn't mean it's not a horror film. The horror elements are there. Perhaps, the subject matter isn't something that you find scary. I personally don't find films like The Exorcist scary. I still love that film, and there's no denial it is a horror film, but I just don't find it particularly scary. On the other hand, The Babadook really scared me. How's that possible? I can't even explain. In addition, I feel like when an upcoming film looks promising on many levels as in this case, people always go in with very high expectations, and that could actually lead to disappointment if they don't get what they wanted it to be. I think the way you sell a film might cause some damage to it. If you sell your film as the scariest thing ever, it's going to get a lot of criticism, for sure. You got to sell your film, though. I guess that's how marketing works.

When it comes to Jordan Peele, you don't know exactly what to expect, except for the fact that he always brings something new. I'm actually impressed by his ability to incorporate these elements from other films, infuse the narrative with them, and still make it feel completely distinctive. There's a Spielberg influence all over it, in particular. This film pays homage to great horror and sci-fi films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Signs and even Alien. There's even a cool reference to Akira. However, Nope is on a whole different level. What I mean by that is that this film stands on its own. It's Peele at his most ambitious and creative. I've just never seen anything like this before. Films like these aren't made all the time, so when one like this is released, it really gives you joy. I really admire filmmakers that always care about coming up with something new, original content.

From the opening scene, we get a glimpse of what's about to happen, but in the most intriguing and disturbing way. It just sets the mood and the tone, perfectly. Nope is a film filled with suspense from start to finish. You get the feeling that there's something unearthly going on, a potential danger. It's just something that you don't know how it will play out, so you are glued to the screen from beginning to end.

"I guess some animals ain't fit to be trained"

As in Peele's previous films, this is full of symbolism. In comparison to his previous films, I feel like everything is more ambiguous and vague in this one, but in the context of this film, it actually works in its favour. Of course, Peele always has something important to say. I won't go into every detail, but for me, the major theme is exploitation. This is mainly a critique of animal exploitation, exploring the hazards of exploiting wild animals for entertainment purposes. It also explores themes such as trauma, grief, monetising tragedy, racism in Hollywood, and the human obsession with fame.

"Make a name for yourself"

Besides its thought-provoking themes, Nope is visual spectacle. The way this film looks and sounds is just magnificent. I think I've never seen such beautiful nighttime sequences, and the sound design is unsurpassable. There are some shots that are awe-inspiring. Also, the score is incredibly disquieting, disorienting and layered with unearthly elements. Nope is also the perfect combination of horror, science fiction, thrills and comedy. The amount of intelligent humour is just spot-on, and it doesn't overshadow its horror elements. There's one specific scene that truly made me genuinely terrified, and combined with the constant screaming, I almost throw up. This film is just very specific in what it wants to achieve, and what reactions it wants to get from viewers. I have to say, I was at the edge of my seat during most of this film.

I'm so happy that Keke Palmer is getting more recognition as an actress, because she's amazing. She steals every scene with her charisma, contagious enthusiasm, energy and personality. I've loved her since she starred in that TV show True Jackson, which is underappreciated af. The rest of the cast is excellent as well. Daniel Kaluuya plays a more reserved character, and he still manages to get the most out of it. These two characters compliment each other very well. It's like the perfect contrast. Whilst Emerald is outgoing and energetic, OJ is an introvert that seems to be discontented with his life. They make this brother-sister bond convincing and compelling, making us care for them.

All in all, Nope is the most impressive and original film I've seen this year, and probably my favourite so far. It's such a unique cinematic experience, that shows a talented filmmaker in total command of his craft, in complete control of his vision.

Edit [Dec 30, 2022]: Jordan Peele's best film to date. I love it even more everytime I re-watch it. My favourite horror film of the year.

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