Nope is the latest film written, directed, and produced by Jordan Peele, director of such films as ‘Get Out’ and ‘Us’. This review was meant to come out way sooner but in the UK the film’s release schedule was changed a couple of times and as a result received a later release date than expected. It happened to come out not only a week after I attended a music festival, but the same weekend that I was at London Anime and Gaming Con.
But this was one of the films that I was desperate to see. I am a huge fan of Jordan Peele’s first film ‘Get Out’, and it also helps that he is again working with the star of that film, Daniel Kaluuya.
The film’s trailers really didn’t give away exactly what the film was about- it gave a slight idea to what was going to happen, but all we knew was that the film was about a group of horse trainers for Hollywood that have been involved in the business for generations, and that there is something in the sky that everyone is afraid of. Other than that, the film’s trailers were very cryptic. As a result, there will be no plot synopsis and this review will be very short! I am very sorry but I do not wish to spoil this for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Especially considering that while this review is late, it will still only be coming out 2 weeks after the film’s opening weekend. Not everyone has had time to see it, and I think that this film is best if you go into it knowing very little. This has made the film very hard to review and talk about!
I will say that the cast is great. Daniel Kaluuya is once again brilliant in his role as horse trainer; OJ, who is feeling the pressure of having to take over the business along with his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) following the death of their father (Keith David) from a freak accident.
The film actually keeps a very short cast. There are not too many characters in the film, the other characters consist of camera technician, Angel (Brandon Perea) who aids the family with installing cameras on the ranch, as well as a child star-turned western park owner, Ricky Park (Steven Yeun), who is also dealing with his own trauma that we see through flashbacks in most of the film. Again, I don’t want to give away too much since it does tie into what’s going on.
As for the effects in this film, they’re actually pretty good! There are actually some very good effects in place. Without giving too much away, the team does a very good job merging what are obviously practical effects that have been brought on to set with the computer-generated effects. They’ve also done a great job animating some of these effects at night, something which is particularly hard to do!
As for the plot, I thought that it flowed quite well! It’s actually a pretty broken up plot that is divided into multiple segments. It becomes clear why they divide into segments as the plot unfolds. It gives the sense of the film feeling sort of episodic in nature.
As to be expected there is also some social commentary. Jordan Peele really understands that the best horror films are the ones that dive into human nature, and this film is no exception. I will say though, that he is very subtle with it, and it did take me a while to catch on to what the film was about. But once I got it, it made the film a lot better. Though that being said, I am willing to admit that I might have been a bit stupid and it is plain for others to see.
Obviously, it’s a Jordan Peele film, so there’s a plot twist. I will say though, once again, unlike M. Night Shyamalan, he’s really good at them. I didn’t get the twist in this one like I did in the first five minutes of ‘Us’. But I will say that it did enrich the film! I would like to point to one of Overly Sarcastic Production’s episodes of ‘Trope Talks’ (you can find it on YouTube) about plot twists. Since their opinion on what makes a good or bad plot twists tends to correlate on my thoughts also. I think that this one kind of works. There were some negatives, I think that some of the flashbacks don’t really get into much detail, and I’m wondering how a lot of audiences are going to react to a rather downplayed performance of Daniel Kaluuya. I think that some people are going to say that he’s playing it slightly half-arsed, when in reality, this is one of his best roles to date! I really hope that he gets some awards nominations off the back of this performance. You really get a sense of the weights of what is put upon him, his regrets, fears, in most scenes that he’s in. I’m really growing to believe that he’s one of the best actors going right now.
I’m also wondering how the length of this film is going to play out with a lot of people. If you’re one of those people that can’t stand when films go on for longer than two hours, this film is not going to be for you. It doesn’t go on much longer, it’s only 2 hours and ten minutes including credits in total, but if you’re impatient about getting to the plot twist. Sorry, but you’ll have to wait a while. The pacing of this film is really good but it certainly plays it slower than your average horror film.
Jordan Peele unsurprisingly does a great job at injecting humour into this film, but the comedy is always to a point and never distracts from the horror going on around it.
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