Writer-Director-Producer Jordan Peele made a quick rise to fame with the back to back hits “Get Out” and “Us” that had everyone’s mind blown. As a mastermind of cinematography, Peele uses strategic lighting, shadowing, background imagery, symbols, and music to convey a powerful visual and message. Known for his psychological horror films, Peele takes the screen yet again with his latest film, “Nope.”
“Nope” captures the story of a brother, OJ played by Daniel Kaluuya, and a sister, Emerald played by Keke Palmer, who run a horse ranch in California that was passed down to them after their father died. After a close call with a supernatural being in the sky, the siblings set themselves on a mission to get a picture or recording of the supernatural occurrence that no one could deny. They want “The Oprah Shot.” Meanwhile, tensions build as a neighboring theme park attempts to profit from the use of animals and the otherworldly occurrence in the sky, which ends up going terribly wrong. In the words of OJ, “He got caught up trying to tame a predator, you can’t do that. You gotta enter an agreement with one.”
In typical Peele fashion, he starts off the movie by educating the audience on a piece of Black history. Emerald introduces her family’s business origins — her great-great-great-grandfather was the focus of the first motion picture film, noting that a Black man was the first to be in a motion film. From there, Peele immerses us into a world of animal captivity and aliens while building the audience’s love for each character. Palmer and Kaluuya’s sibling chemistry radiates from the screen with endearing genuine moments, like their civil sibling bickering and handshake. They are quickly joined by Angel, played by Brandon Perea, a dorky tech guy whose hilarious personality and mishaps creates an enjoyable friendship and making them the team to root for.
Although the movie starts off slow paced, it quickly builds suspense. Even with horrifying scenes that had me on the edge of my seat, Peele is able to bring moments of lightheartedness with Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya’s realistic characters and comedic timing. Backed by a beautiful score by composer Michael Abels that plays to the audience’s emotions with hints of nature noises, like horses neighing and cicadas buzzing, Peele creates a thrilling story that he says serves as “a reminder of how we treat anything that isn’t human.” With appearances by Barbie Ferreria, the actress who plays Kat on “Euphoria,” and “Minari” Oscar nominee Steven Yeun, the actor who played Glenn on “Walking Dead,” Jordan Peele yet again brings us an all-star cast that portrays a captivating story for us all to bring something home to think about.
“Nope” is definitely Jordan Peele’s “Oprah shot.”