Nope wants to make you look

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Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures


We can’t help ourselves. A UK study found that 29% of motorway crashes caused a slowdown in the other lane. You have to watch the horror.

In Hollywood, that indescribable feeling of not being able to tear yourself away is packaged, bottled and mass-produced. This keeps the whole thing moving; putting the pain on screen keeps those eyes from turning back to the road.

Filmmaker Jordan Peele compels you to keep watching. Nope, his latest show, is defined by its characters staring out into the vast California sky, unable to walk away from danger directly overhead. It’s a cliché to say, but go see this one in theaters, and in IMAX if you can. The long, slow pans across the desert night are almost unbelievably impressive in their scale, engulfing you whole in the wonder of it all with the characters.

And about these characters. There aren’t many, but man, they pack a punch. Nope tells the story of the Haywood family, a group of Hollywood black horse wrestlers who have been training equine stars for as long as movies have existed (as explained in the film, their ancestor rode horses in the famous cinematic photograph of ‘Eadweard Muybridge).

After the freak death of their father (Keith David), the stoic and sardonic OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and his loud and brash sister, Em (Keke Palmer), don’t exactly have the business firing on full steam. So, when a series of strange events begin to plague the family ranch, they jump at the chance to potentially make a buck by selling UFO footage (or UAP), with the help of an employee of sold out tech store (Brandon Perea). In a parallel storyline, Jupe (Steven Yeun), an 80s child star turned theme park with a lot of unresolved trauma, has her own motivations for capturing what’s going on in town.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given her already impressive resume, that Keke Palmer is a fucking star. In a film starring Kaluuya, perhaps the best and most versatile star currently working today, and a riveting, layered performance by Yeun, Palmer steals the show, bragging and calculating his way through every shot, instantly launching into the realm of all time. horror protagonists. His confidence reflects everything about Nope, a film with so many ideas and so many balls against the wall, a cinema without limits that you can’t help but sit and smile. It’s not just Peele going three for three, it’s him proving that he operates in a different stratosphere than anyone working today, taking on sky-high budgets and delivering blockbuster-like appeal. Spielberg with his own unique and sadly funny writing style. .

Peele also made himself a hell of a horror movie. Where his escape hit get out leaned more towards the sociological and the disturbing, and the sequel Us had its moments of terror, Nope consistently delivers truly spooky sets. Everyone in the film is chasing that magical moment in the movie – “The Oprah Shot”, as OJ and Em call it – which is sure to bring them fame and fortune. But as Peele is quick to remind us, it doesn’t come without suffering first. And boy, do the characters suffer. This isn’t your typical alien invasion movie; in fact, we know next to nothing about the movie’s monsters. Still, from a TV monkey to one of the most claustrophobic 30 seconds in recent memory, there’s enough jaw-dropping horror to keep any die-hard fan more than satisfied.

For all its visually stunning and terrifying splendor, Nope has its flaws, comes across as jam-packed with ideas, but ends as suddenly as it began. But Peele’s commitment to overcharging, to really pushing forward, is to be commended wherever possible. At one point, OJ is going over safety precautions while on set, when Em arrives, telling the whole crew that they know what they’re doing and everyone is going to have a great time. It’s going to be a tough race, but it’s going to be one hell of a show.

Nope is now playing in theaters nationwide.

About Debra D. Johnson

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