Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and “Us” were pure sensation and thought-provoking. So you know whenever a project comes out of his brilliant mind, expect nothing but an intelligent piece that will speak volumes. That’s why the announcement of “Nope” right from its first teaser made you want to run to the nearest cinema to catch it on IMAX. I did it, as you can tell, but was my trip worth my time or was it truly as good as it promised us to be?
Written, produced and directed by Jordan Peele, “Nope” centers around two siblings, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer), who run their own ranch with horses as they train them. Their uneventful life turns into a nightmare after their father’s sudden and mysterious death by a coin which passed straight through his eye. While unaware of the events that would soon take place, the siblings realize the presence of a much powerful force around their ranch, an unidentified flying object obsessed with glazed eyes.
The film opens with a chimpanzee animal actor that attacks and kills its co-stars but spares the child’s life. That occurred in 1998, and then we are fast forwarded to the present where the boy that miraculously survives the nightmarish night is now a grown-up man (Steven Yeun) and runs his own Western Theme Park. Ricky successfully exploits his past endeavor, however, that won’t help him much when the time comes to face what is up in the skies. In the meantime, when OJ and Emerald realize something weird is happening, they hire a technician to install cameras outside their ranch to capture and sell evidence of the existence of a UFO.
Not going much into the film’s theme, it is fair to note that the concept of it is far larger than the film tries to explore. It is about people that are literally not aware of their surroundings, lead a quiet life and do not engage with anything that can drastically change their life. But when the UFO appears right above their heads, the siblings are determined to catch it despite the damage it may cause, including the loss of life. But the second point is less concerning to them, as the fact that the money they can make out of their discovery appears to be more tempting.
Jordan Peele knows how to manipulate the story and bring it up in such a way that the actors will have to work hard to deliver it even when they have no lines to deliver. Daniel Kaluuya, of course, is a tremendously talented actor who can easily chew up any role, but it’s Keke Palmer and Brendan Perea show, I assure you, who own every scene like a boss. They have delivered their part with confidence, ease and charm. Looking how well they handled some challenging scenes was true revelation even though we know, for instance, Keke Palmer is more than capable with any character you present her to portray.
As for the concept, “Nope” cleverly explores people’s obsession with the unknown and the risk they are ready to take to discover it. The point here is not the UFO but the eyes we have and how we’re sometimes attracted to things that are not that important. If eyes could kill, “Nope” captures that well enough to never question its intention ever again. The ending, or the conclusion rather, is evident to what Jordan Peele tried to achieve, and you, as a viewer, can be rewarded once you watch it till the end.