Combustible Celluloid Review - Nope (2022), Jordan Peele, Jordan Peele, Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Steven Yeun, Wrenn Schmidt, Keith David, Devon Graye, Terry Notary, Barbie Ferreira, Donna Mills, Osgood Perkins, Eddie Jemison
Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Steven Yeun, Wrenn Schmidt, Keith David, Devon Graye, Terry Notary, Barbie Ferreira, Donna Mills, Osgood Perkins, Eddie Jemison
Written by: Jordan Peele
Directed by: Jordan Peele
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and some violence/bloody images
Running Time: 135
Date: 07/21/2022
IMDB

Nope (2022)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Nary Tale

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jordan Peele's sci-fi/horror/comedy may lack the cultural impact of his earlier movies, but it is an expertly constructed, hugely entertaining ride, with each intricate puzzle piece perfectly fitted.

OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) works with his father Otis (Keith David) on a ranch, training horses for movies and TV. Otis is killed after a freak accident, in which a nickel fell from the sky and hit him in the head, and OJ finds himself struggling to run the business with his flighty younger sister, Emerald (Keke Palmer).

A deal with former child actor Ricky Park (Steven Yeun), who now runs a Western-themed amusement park, helps for a bit. But when OJ sees what appears to be a UFO over their land, he and Emerald get the idea to film it, and make a fortune. A tech-savvy Fry's employee, and UFO buff, Angel (Brandon Perea) helps the Haywoods set up surveillance cameras. But the next time the visitor comes back, its bizarre true nature is revealed.

Nope doesn't have as much to say about America and where we are right now as did Get Out and Us, but that's about where any complaints might stop. It seems to be concerned with themes of humans attempting to tame and control other species, up to and including the filming of them for entertainment and profit. A subplot about a chimp that snapped and went on a bloody rampage on the set of a 1990s TV sitcom doesn't quite seem to belong to the overall plot about UFOs, but upon reflection it helps put everything in context. It connects everything.

Peele's skill as a filmmaker keeps improving. His camera placement, cutting and shocking use of sound design and music, are all combined to create a truly surprising experience. We're frequently kept off-balance as bits of mystery are doled out sparingly, then slyly answered, only to be replaced by new mysteries. Details that may seem insignificant can become important, or vice-versa.

Best of all, Peele lets his comedy side flow here. While his last two films had their humorous moments, the tension was too strong to actually laugh. Here the balance allows for more big laughs, more often. Kaluuya and Palmer are responsible for many of these, as well as for all of the movie's heart. Kaluuya's stoic, monosyllabic character and Palmer's gabby, free-spirited one are opposites, but part of a whole. They make us say "Yep" to Nope.

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