What is Witty Watching?

Nope – Movie Review
July 21, 2022

Synopsis: The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.

Director: Jordan Peele

Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea

Jordan Peele has established himself as a top Hollywood filmmaker. Not simply because he has an Academy Award (he won Best Screenplay for his debut film Get Out) but his films are eagerly anticipated and critically acclaimed. Nope is no different. This is a movie that is cloaked in secrecy. Embargoes are nothing new, but this is being approached like an expected Marvel film. No spoilers please.

But let’s go back to what I said a moment ago. Jordan Peele is a top Hollywood filmmaker. The only part of that statement that is somewhat surprising is that he was famously known for being one half of the comedic duo, Key and Peele and his big screen work is all thriller/horror. Get Out, aka the movie that scared me away from accepting any cottage invites, US, a very strong follow up, and now Nope.

For a guy who is so talented with comedy he seems to be done with the genre. Well, for now anyway.  If Get Out was the movie that solidified his place as a director Nope accomplishes something else; It reminds us, that at his core, Jordan Peele is a fan of movies. Not just a student of cinema but he gets it. His newest film deals with a brother and sister, Kaluuya and Palmer and some of the interesting things they are experiencing near their home. (I respect the ‘No Spoiler’ policy)

The performances in the film are very strong. Palmer, reminds us of what one can do with great material, is fantastic in this role. While she has over 100 acting roles to her credit on IMDB, kudos to her agent, this is the best I’ve ever seen her.

And do I need to sell you on Daniel Kaluuya? Excuse me. Do I need to sell you on Academy Award winner Daniel Kaluuya? He is equally brilliant in this film.

But this film, at its core, represents the genius of Jordan Peele. He does a fantastic job of paying homage to films that have come before in subtle and not so subtle ways.  You could say this film is a love letter in some respects but in others he is also carving out his own niche.

This was shot in IMAX and Peele used the same cinematographer that Christopher Nolan uses, probably not a coincidence that we get the first look at Nolan’s new film before this one started. This is a beautifully shot film and takes full advantage of the IMAX canvas.

What I appreciate about Peele’s filmmaking is that it stays with you. He gives you material to think about and discuss. His films also demand more than one viewing.

This film makes great use of foreshadowing and overall story development. Comparisons to M. Night Shyamalan are to be expected but not necessary. As a cinephile, I love being part of both of their eras., The film is also wonderfully casted. Without giving things away, if you are familiar with some of the actors, one in particular, no one else could have played the role.

Nope definitely has scary moments but I think most adult audiences will be able to handle it.

Jordan Peele has done it again. Nope is a yes for me.

Grade: B+

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