Nope is Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated third feature film. The inventive and multi-genre film is predominantly located on a horse ranch in California, following the nonchalant OJ Haywood, played by Daniel Kaluuya, and his sister Emerald Haywood, played by Keke Palmer, who believe to be witnesses to an extra-terrestrial spacecraft. Nat Howarth reviews.
Jordan Peele’s Nope defies and resists conventional tropes of cinema, as he once again goes beyond the periphery of filmmaking to create one of the most exciting and hair-raising cinematic experiences of the year!
Both OJ and Emerald are bewildered by the possibility of the extra-terrestrial but Jupe, played by Steven Yeun, a former child actor who escaped a vicious chimpanzee attack on live television, grows up to own a small Western theme park where he exploits from his trauma in exchange for profit. He further attempts to profit off the fortuity of the UFO sighting. The neo-Western setting enables for the possibility of a slow-burn pace and the fabrication of ambiguity and mystery, set far from American suburbia like Peele’s other films.
An early issue explored in Nope is the exploitation of creativity and how Black people have become castigated and marginalised by Hollywood.
I watched Nope during the first days of its release, and it was so exciting to be sat in an audience of people audibly laughing. The story itself is so captivating and thrilling, it makes you question what is happening, as the initial sightings are not obvious whether they are UFOs, while many characters provide comic relief. This comic relief predominantly comes from Emerald and Angel, the tech guy who helps the Haywood siblings set up the surveillance to capture the UFO, played by Brandon Perea.
While Jordan Peele’s films serve a purpose to entertain, his films also engage with many socio-political issues in contemporary society. An early issue explored in Nope is the exploitation of creativity and how Black people have become castigated and marginalised by Hollywood. In a Hollywood studio, Emerald questions: “did you know that the very first assembly of photographs to create a motion picture was a two-second clip of a Black man on a horse?” This exposes the ignorance and lack of representation within the industry even today. It is interesting as a lot of Peele’s works are defined as horror-thriller with an even weighting on world issues and providing a message, making his works so productive in both entertaining and educating an audience.
If you’re interested in learning more about Jordan Peele’s cinematic works, Dark Celluloid will be showing Get Out as the first film of the year! Produced in 2017, the film is known for its criticisms of casual and systemic racism, starring Daniel Kaluuya. It is recognised as a huge success, receiving many accolades including winning an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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