If you enjoyed Jordan Peele’s 2017 sleeper, Get Out, you might expect a lot from his latest effort as writer/director. But a career based on a breakthrough success is bound to disappoint, much like his reboot ofThe Twilight Zone, in which he attempts to fill the shoes of the legendary Rod Serling. Who does that? Serling was a brilliant writer and captivating on-screen personality. Peele is neither.
However, we found ourselves caught up in Nope and gave it a “Not Bad” despite its excessive length, questionable characters and odd little sub-plots. Did Peele think he needed to bury a movie within a movie to keep it interesting? Entire plot lines could be removed. That would make the film easier to follow and shorten it up just about the right amount.
The movie opens with OJ Haywood and his father working their horses on a ranch in a generic western locale. Things get weird pretty quickly, resulting in the death of Haywood Senior. Daniel Kaluuya, who starred in Get Out, is the quiet older brother to Emerald, his far from quiet sister and polar opposite.
Before long, power is being drained from electric devices of all kinds. Horses are agitated and breaking free from their stalls. And OJ sees something hiding behind an unmoving cloud, an object that is “moving too fast” and behaving generally like stereotypical reports of UFOs.
In a financially motivated quest to capture a high-quality video of the object, Emerald contacts a legendary cinematographer who owns a hand-powered film camera. A local tourist trap carnival, a local fixture reminiscent of Wall Drug and other “must see” disappointments out west becomes the backdrop against which tales are told of an incident years earlier when a murderous chimpanzee went berserk on a TV show. The traumatized surviving child actor now runs the attraction.
After a few shadowy glimpses of the flying marauder, we’re treated to some nicely executed special effects and long scenes in which we discover that not all UFOs are ships. At this point the action is more than slightly reminiscent of "War of the Worlds."
Nope is streaming free on Peacock, and for that we are grateful.
Nope runs 2 hours, 10 minutes and is rated R.
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