DonnyB’s review published on Letterboxd:
After some friends and I left the theater last night, I was ready to get home and fire one up as we discuss some of the themes Mr Peele brought up in NOPE. I could have just been reaching, but I thought it had some ideas that were subtle enough for the average movie-goer to not even consider because they weren't aware of the arguments even being had....maybe it is just a simple thriller and a good time and I'm grasping at straws. I also remember the arguments about King Kong never intending to make the story of the slave trade but the viewer reflects their own meaning back onto the story, so with that being said - I really do believe Jordan Peele was saying some things that he couldn't just come out and say openly.
I'll discuss details below, so if you want to avoid spoilers, just go see it as blind as possible (can't believe I made it the whole year without seeing the trailer lol 😌). Definitely a must-see, I wouldn't consider it the best of the year but still top 10 so far.
Ok hear me out.....lol
Between the Gordy the chimp, Seigfreid & Roy's tigers, the NOPE entity, and O.J. Simpson (yeah my friends didn't like this take lol) - they're all caged animals. They are not predators and probably never would have been. The possibility and capability is always there, yet they are on the wrong end of the unbalanced scales - aware of it and still continue on....until that snap. Like Chappelle has mentioned with society 'making' famous people crazy. Everything is fucked, but even just a tiny bit of respect goes a long way. Don't look the horse in the eye, don't treat a creature higher up the food chain like your pet, and 'gifts' don't feel like gifts to a trapped animal. Those Bengal tigers could have been off in the jungle and would have never harmed a single human, but the people who were literally experts at training and performing with the creatures still couldn't actually tame them, because they weren't mean to be tamed. I'm hoping you guys can fill in the rest, but with the main family being completely flawless characters - the name O.J. combined with the blonde Karen-looking lady being frightened, in between scenes of animals freaking out in unfamiliar territory. Taken out of their element to do tricks for the ones in a more comfortable position. The entity would consume everything and spit back anything that it didn't need, much like society taking what they want from the black man and throwing away the rest. They don't care about your struggle, they don't understand the perspective of thinking you're higher up the food chain than you are, you're still looked down upon, you're here to help them - not the other way around. Some of these probably have nothing to do with the movie at all, but the 'caged animal mentality' was done in such an intriguing way and I couldn't help but relate it to how society has used the black man, all way from the first frames of cinema EVER being a black man on a horse. Since Day 1 they had skin in the game. It may not explicitly tell you what they want you to think (apparently you can make it the whole runtime without considering anything else besides a thrilling plot lol).
---This movie either scratched something deep or I wanted it to go deeper, I'm still working that out so I apologize for the brain vomit!
It did feel like it was a short shoot or that maybe all of the budget went to CGI. It was almost a quick 'one-off' vibe, but it's still way better and much more complete than other covid projects like The Black Phone, Kimi, etc. Better than Us but not a masterpiece like Get Out. Peele is the fuckin' man and I'm loving how wide of an audience his ideas are getting. Cinephiles have been praying for a break in the monotony of reboots, adaptations, sequels, prequels etc etc. and JP is one those prophets who has answered our prayers. I'm still holding onto my faith that JP has a grand masterpiece on the way in the future.
Retitled: Django Unprobed