Nope ★★★

Not bad by any stretch of the imagination but thoroughly less intriguing and sharp than Peele’s previous features.

This film looks gorgeous and has some clever visual cues, but it’s narrative feels thin and like an after thought. It almost feels like Peele didn’t quite have enough story with the Kaluuya/Palmer storyline so he just added a bunch of other stuff to fill it out.

Palmer is a hoot and having a wonderful time. Kaluuya is punching far above his weight and is the only reason this film had any emotional resonance for me at all. He’s such a talented performer and I would have loved for this part to have been a bit juicier for him. I’m definitely a contrarian for this but I found Brandon Perea to be very distracting. I didn’t feel like he was acting at all—just trying to ramp up for his next halfhearted punchline. 

Again, far from a disaster and it is enjoyable at points. But I can’t help but feel disappointed. With Peele I feel like I’m in such capable hands, but his hands feel empty with this film. There’s no BANG, no gotcha, no flipping much of anything on its head.

It’s not that Peele isn’t saying something with this film, but it’s more I don’t feel what he’s saying is in his singular voice. He seems more preoccupied trying to make me laugh or marvel and as a result of that this feels flat to me.

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