Spoilers would send drones.
This film has the same thing going for it and against. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before, making it difficult to categorize and hard to reduce to simple premise. This is a good thing in general for movie making, we need filmmakers willing to take risks and think outside the box. Jordan Peele is building a portfolio where he’s constantly innovating without trying to recreate one particular lightning in a box moment. Let’s see what’s inside this cloud.
Nope (2022) is written and directed by Jordan Peele. OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) take over the family business after the death of their father Otis (Keith David) in a freak accident. They train and provide horses for films. Business is not booming and OJ is forced to sell some of their best to western act showman Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun). OJ has never believed the explanation for his father’s death, apparently hit by random debris falling from the sky at bullet speed. One time he witnesses a strange phenomena that makes him convince there’s something hiding amongst the clouds, something not of this earth.
Let me say first of all, this movie is not for everyone. This is a film that depends a lot on its reveal and due to that you could consider it squarely in the realm of horror sci-fi until it becomes a bit more of a supernatural adventure. It’s not jarring in its transition and its narrative does establish engaging sibling characters OJ and Emerald. We care for them, we want to see them succeed and survive. However, it does take time in setting up side stories. We do see a lot of backstory for Ricky and his past surviving an animal attack while being a child actor. That side story doesn’t have quite have a resolution with a satisfying payback.
Here’s what I will say in favor though. The main plot and premise are carried all the way to a conclusion. This path is marked with some tone changes where some of the horror elements of the first half dissolve to be replaced with a film about opportunity, a sort of race toward a goal to save the ranch (in this case, literally). Unavoidably that comes with a tone dissonance that might feel disappointing if you’re waiting for a more classic take on a movie about unidentified flying objects. Truth is this movie is still about humans willing to risk it all for a chance to keep their way of life going.
Recommended with reservations. Not everyone will get into this film, but primarily I will defend this film’s right to break stereotypes and push the envelope on the horror and sci-fi genre as well as providing some adventure into the mix, although it’s not an adventure movie. Won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and it does take some turns with no payoff. Overall worth a watch if you’re willing to take a chance.
That will do for now.