No (English) Rating 3.0/5 & rating
nope is the story of a group of residents in a remote part of the United States who experience a sinister development. Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David) owns a horse ranch in Agua Dulce, California. He rents out the animals for film and television shoots. One day while he is at his ranch, he is suddenly killed after being hit by a nickel falling from the sky. Although his son, OJ aka Otis Jr (Daniel Kaluya) takes him to the hospital immediately, he cannot save him.
The authorities inform him that the nickel must have fallen into the sky from an airplane. OJ never buys the theory. Six months later, OJ and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) continue to rent out the horses for film shoots. OJ faces a financial crisis and begins selling horses to Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun), who owns Jupiter’s Claim, a small Western-themed park near their ranch. As they discuss their agreement, Emerald accidentally sees a picture of a chimpanzee in his cabin.
Just then, Jupiter tells them that he was a famous child actor and was part of a sitcom called Gordy’s Home. The show was abruptly cut short after the chimp playing the role of Gordy became violent and killed the actors on the show but somehow spared him. That same night, OJ and Emerald notice that the electricity in their house is beginning to fluctuate. Some time later, one of their horses disappears. OJ sees a UFO shaped like a flying saucer and realizes that it is the one who picked up his horse and is also spitting out inorganic or inedible debris that caused his father’s death. When Emerald learns of the UFO’s presence, she tells OJ to record it with a video camera and then sell the footage for millions.
OJ realizes this will solve its financial crisis. He buys security cameras from a Fry’s Electronics store. His co-worker Angel (Brandon Perea), who sets up the cameras, realizes that the siblings are probably trying to spot aliens. That night, OJ and Emerald attempt to capture the UFO. Curious about what the Haywoods are up to, Angel begins remotely reviewing their recordings. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Jordan Peele’s story is a bit cliche. However, Jordan Peele’s screenplay is so effective that you might not realize that there have been films in the past with a similar basic plot. Because he peppers the film with very captivating and exciting moments. Also, the idea of the siblings trying to capture footage of the UFO is pretty impressive and makes for a nice watch. Dialogue is simple and a few one-liners are funny.
As expected, Jordan Peele’s direction is outstanding. The film’s setting in an arid region adds a lot to the film’s eerie feel. Even the Justus amusement park gives a special touch. Jordan makes good use of the locations and also makes good use of the technical departments. The film begins on a terrifying note. The opening credit scene is mysterious and quite cleverly done. The fun begins as soon as the siblings begin their mission. Angel’s entry into the story brings laughs. The movie gets better when we see Justus Flashback in its entirety. The madness that unfolds at the amusement park and the scene that follows at the Haywoods ranch is nerve-wracking. Unfortunately, the film falters in the last act. It gets too long-winded and even a bit boring. Although Jordan tries to end the film on a high note, one wishes the UFO had more to do with the film. It’s also baffling that no agency in the country was aware of the UFO’s presence, even though it had been roaming the region for nearly six months.
Daniel Kaluuya’s performance is not up to par. He had to downplay his role, but ended up playing a deadpan role. Keke Palmer is quite entertaining. Steven Yeun leaves a big mark. His track is unforgettable. Brandon Perea is impressive. Keith David is okay in a cameo. Michael Wincott (Antlers Holst, the cameraman) is fair.
Michael Abels’ music is chilled and reinforces the effect. Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography is spectacular. The way he pans the camera to the sky and roams while viewers try to spot the UFO is quite commendable. Ruth De Jong’s production design is rich. Alex Bovaird’s costumes are appealing. As expected, the VFX conforms to global standards. Nicholas Monsour’s editing could have been sharper.
Overall, NOPE works because of Jordan Peele’s expert writing and direction, and the thrill quotient. It starts slow at the box office but can gradually attract target audiences through positive word of mouth.