Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.
Nope is a bold attempt at an original blockbuster, and while it doesn’t fully mesh from beginning to end, this experience is one that I will never forget. What starts out as a thriller (with a few horrific moments), Nope slowly morphs into a western/scifi that features one of the more insane third acts in recent memory. The visuals alone make it worthy of a big screen viewing, as Hoyte Van Hoytema utilizes certain shots that feel almost unachievable as ideas. The perspective shots of this object in the sky are outstanding, and it evokes a feeling that is almost indescribable. When it comes to bringing it in the horror department, there is one scene that captures this. Unfortunately, the story decides to never revisit this specific feeling; it was a feeling so intense that the audience was shouting nope in unison. There is tension later on, but it moves into distinct territory that feels more thriller than horror. I normally don’t get scared, so maybe it’s a personal feeling, but the final act isn’t scary. In the midst of this thrilling finale, there are certain shots that will have your jaw on the floor. Beyond the shots, the reactions from these characters will have you laughing. Most films will allow their leads to make ridiculous decisions for the sake of the plot. This movie allows its characters time to think about repercussions, and that is incredibly smart.
The goal of this sibling duo is clear and concise. Their commitment to accomplishing their mission is realistic and appreciated, and their relationship is fantastic. Palmer plays Emerald with as much enthusiasm as expected, and her performance is lights out. Kaluuya is much more reserved here, but he plays it beautifully. Perea provides some great comedy, and Wincott owns his screen-time. The overall cast is incredible. Steven Yeun makes the most of his time, and his backstory is something that becomes a focal point of the film. These flashbacks are fascinating and brutal, but this is the one aspect of the movie that feels off. These scenes are good, but they feel like a scattered series of events that are only here because of one connection. I absolutely see what Peele is going for, and this will make a rewatch necessary, but does it pull too much of the focus away? There is also one shot that had my curiosity peaked, but nothing ever comes of it. The riveting finale will make these issues feel less significant, but this is a massive part of the film that just feels like it belongs somewhere else. Regardless, Peele delivers in the directorial department. The story is inconsistent, so this script may not be his strongest, but he continues to make incredibly interesting and entertaining movies. Nope had my attention from start to finish, and there is a lot to uncover long after the movie ends.
🔙Where the Crawdads Sing
🔜The Gray Man