Surya | Screen Savor’s review published on Letterboxd:
Nope is an authentic atmospheric horror thriller that has an original content to offer but suffers from an uninspiring screenplay that moves absolutely nowhere just like that stagnant cloud in the film. I was so excited going into theater finally watching my first Jorden Peele film in theater that I even gave a fist bump to my friend in excitement but coming out, both of us, Peele fans, had so many mixed feelings.
Even Though it has it's moments, there's a lot of inconsistency in it's screenplay structure. What starts decently giving enough room for a lot to happen, soon falls flat that we get a sense that the plot is heading nowhere which only picks up until it's in the middle of the second act with a really great and tense sequence that offers an unique reveal which indeed had turned the tide in the favor of the film if it were not let down by a very generic ending.
What's disappointing to see it that, if we analyze the previous works of Peele, along with an unique subject he does do a lot of social commentary that subtly underlies beneath the main plot but I didn't find any of such storytelling with Nope. Sadly it misses his very own trademark and style of filmmaking.
Though there's one social aspect about which he actually does comment i.e. The survival of the fittest. The movie did surely deal with primitive, animalistic traits all living beings have, the urge to survive, eat, fight back or escape and even an alien would be that after all it's also a living being. And not looking it in the eye of the monster was something to do with how some animals hunt their prey, not trying to provoke them. Through the use of animals like the monkey and horses going crazy he used that scientific theories about animals can sense danger way before. So I think he had a lot of ideas to explain that but he couldn't do it that effective manner which did hold back the film from it's true potential.
I wouldn't even dare to write down a directing pioneer like Jorden Peele with just a single film, considering the great comedic shorts he made just before giving one of the greatest debut films of all time and then a really innovative film. He knows what he makes and the case is no different with this film but it lacks exposition which was indeed good in maintaining the suspense but it also made the film look incoherent.
Performance wise it's Keke Palmer who overshadowed everyone with a remarkable range in her acting. The film even features some of the greatest actors such as Daniel Kaluuya and Steven Yeun but they don't have much scope to perform given the prior had an underwritten character and the later had a very minimal runtime.
On the technical front the film is solid. The score along with sound mixing are superlatively designed that carry the atmospheric tension present in it's plot and especially during the climax sequence, it keeps us on the edge of the seats. The cinematography is captivating with appropriate color grading while being true to it's theme.