Movie Review: Jordan Peele’s “Nope”



It’s a genuine challenge to neatly sum up what the meaning of Nope is, but this doesn’t hinder the movie from telling a jaw dropping story.

Nope is a story based around two siblings, OJ (Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer), who have inherited a horse wrangling business from their late grandfather. Soon after, they unfortunately discover a UFO, but it seems the nearby owner of a theme park has already enthusiastically staked his “Jupiters Claim.” Throughout the movie the siblings meet many eccentric figures who come to aid, or halt their mission to understand what the UFO they dubbed “Jean Jacket,” really is.

Now that everythings been summarized, let’s get into The Good, The Bad, and The (wonderfully) Dirty.

The Good:

Peele excels in setting a mood, straight from the opening scene we’re met with a verse from the prophet Nahum: “I will pelt you with filth, I will treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle.” By the time you’re halfway through, this really starts to set in, realizing you’re in for a much more terrifying ride than you paid for. Throughout the movie, not a single character left me bored, but wanting to see them in action even more. Emerald is witty, which perfectly counteracts the solemn seriousness that OJ displays, keeping the energy well balanced. Even though this movie was just a “summer monster movie,” I found the overlying message to be a refreshing contrast to its predecessors.

Nope has many facets to its meaning, but its critique on late stage capitalism is what really stuck out through its carnage. It shows the danger of trying to control the untameable for profit. Jupe is a wonderful example, as his sublot circles around the stem of his trauma. He turned this trauma into something exploited for profit, for him to never realize it would be his undoing. He tried to wrangle Jean Jacket into a show, only entertaining such a small number of people, while subconsciously still holding onto his miracle survival from Gordy (a chimpanzee & co-star) slaughtering the rest of his co-stars in Gordy’s Home. He believed that he was the chosen to survive, pushing him to think he was the one strong enough to tame Jean Jacket, but in the end like everyone else in the show, he succumbed to his fate.

The Bad:

Like its predecessors, Nope is a movie that wants to be picked apart, analyzed, but for a general audience, its spontaneity just doesn’t simply work like that. I had to really contemplate the meaning in the movie, and why the addition of a murderous chimpanzee was beneficial to the plot of a UFO sci-fi movie. For me it fell flat in tying up some loose ends, leaving me confused on highly emphasized scenes. Like why was the shoe standing up in Gordy’s Home? Or the cinematographer who ended up sacrificing himself for the perfect shot, what was the reason he decided to take on the suicide mission?

The (wonderfully) Dirty:

This is definitely my favorite section, as I use this to highlight some of my personal favorites from the movie. I absolutely adored the wardrobe for Jupe, especially his Star Lasso Experience suit. It’s ironic in itself, showing his self-fulfilled prophecy on the back, donning the UFO hovering over his shoulder blades. But I really want to highlight the craziest scene in the movie, The Star Lasso Experience. It’s unsettling seeing Jupe rave about such a spectacle for the scene to be a bleak desert expanse with very few attendees. It’s donned with many interesting items, such as the aliens he claims to “be inside” Jean Jacket, up for sale in desolate vendor booths. An eerie silence looms upon the few and far between visitors as Jupe unveils Lucky, the horse used to lure out Jean Jacket for their entertainment. Suddenly the silence is flipped on its head, as Jean Jacket comes crashing down from the heavens. Jupe is futile in his resistance, already transfixed by the Alien descending on his crowd. His gaze is stuck, and in the blink of an eye everyone in the Star Lasso Experience is sucked up into Jean Jacket’s fleshy confines. The land is shaken, buildings destroyed as all of nature succumbs to the power of this vengeful and petty being. Then that scene happens: the scene cuts to the crowd disturbed, confused as they’re being sucked up the fleshy walls, utterly claustrophobic as they are being led to their imminent death. The scene cuts away to the Protagonist OJ and Emerald conversing their plans as the stench of death hits them like a truck. And all they could hear was the screams of the crowd as they’re boiled alive in Jean Jacket.

Overall, NOPE was a fantastic movie. It left me awestruck, baffled, and with a few questions. This movie was a solid 4 of 5 stars. It kept me entertained, on the edge of my seat, and utterly horrified. I am optimistic to see where the future will take Jordan Peele’s career.