August 18, 2022

Jordan Peele breaks expectations (again) with ‘Nope’

5 min read

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Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Brandon Perea No.

Universal Studio

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Universal Studio

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Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Brandon Perea No.

Universal Studio

when first trailer For No Dropped, audiences almost immediately took to social media to try to interpret the opaque montage of shots — shots that revealed almost nothing about the film’s plot. This is partly due to Jordan Peele’s own work as a writer-director in his first two feature films, go And WeSet high expectations for twisty, layered social commentary through Popcorn Thrills. Even more so it’s a product of the current cultural landscape, where seemingly every major movie or TV series is laden with twists and easter eggs and spoiler-y cameos, breaking down the underlying meaning of the creator, stirring up Reddit threads. lends for.

Peele certainly knows by now what audiences expect from him and other filmmakers like him, which is probably why – once again – he managed to break our expectations. No It’s not a plot-twisting experience that can be carefully deconstructed because it’s consistently surprising. It’s a journey that’s less social comment-forward than its predecessors, yet still has plenty of meaning to tease after you’ve left the theater.

First and foremost, he wants us to be in awe. And on that front, he doesn’t disappoint.

The film begins by quoting a Bible verse from the book of Nahum: “I will cast abominable filth on you, make you despicable, and make you a farce,” followed by a quiet, eerie scene involving an animal. which is first left unsaid. -time viewer; You better get out in a moment. eventually, No Leaves us in the world of OJ and Emerald Heywood (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer), a pair of siblings coping with the loss of their father, Otis, Sr. (Keith David), who try to keep the family business afloat. are doing. Heywood Hollywood Horse is his company, an equestrian organization that has worked with TV and film production for years and is based in the small California desert valley town of Agua Dulce.

Mysterious events and scenes from above begin to take place on the family farm, and the hard-working Emerald has the opportunity to make some extra cash by getting the perfect shot of a UFO to sell online. Soon, she and OJ scuttle their land with camera gear with the help of Angel (Brandon Perea), a tech salesman and quirky supernatural enthusiast who has plenty of time on his hands. (His actress girlfriend breaks up with him, much to his dismay.) But UFOs pose a greater threat than they initially realize, and soon the trio find themselves aggressive and an old-school filmmaker. Enlist the help – the kind who still shoots on the actual film – played by Michael Wincott.

In line with Peel’s sensibilities, No It seems to have been borrowed from a plethora of cinematic references: Spielberg (notably jaw And at), M. Night Shyamalan (Symptoms), And foreign, Just to name a few. Kaluuya almost plays OJ like the strong, silent cowboy heroes of Old Hollywood Westerns, a man of few words until the occasion really calls for it, and the kind of man who keeps his emotions close to the vest. This contrasts well with Palmer’s sharp-tongued, looser emerald; She’s the cracker in this powder keg, injecting energy, wit and comic relief into a character whose ideas run against her brother’s intentions on how to keep the family legacy alive.

As the movie progresses, the plot is always a few steps ahead of where the mind can go, and – at least on first viewing – all the threads aren’t necessary if you think about them for too long. (For example, a story involving Steven Yeun as an amusement park owner and former child star is very effective in echoing the film’s themes, but it could have been developed further.) doubt that, as WeThis would spark a lot of debate about what message Peele is trying to convey to his audience, although I would argue that there is less to it. There There to argue in this matter. (on the other hand, maybe He It’s something to think about in itself.)

this is not to say No is modest; With this film, he is contributing a new entry into the rich history of Black Westerns (directed by Sidney Poitier). Buck and the Preacher Referring to the sight, for one) and tapping into themes of a cultural obsession with subduing nature and benefiting from the spectacle. It’s also important to note how Peele speaks to Black audiences and their frequent reactions to horror films through clever titles and the works of OJ and Emerald — like Regina Hall’s sometimes skeptical Brenda horror movie franchise, these characters are careful and smart about situations that are clearly ominous. “No” is not just a phrase, it is a way of existence.

But objectives strongly prioritize adventure and mood-setting. Aesthetically, this is their most ambitious feature to date, with deeply crafted action sequences, breathtaking visuals by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, and a stunningly immersive sound design by Johnny Byrne. It seems that as a feature filmmaker, Peele is having more fun with his audience than ever before, and that, in turn, makes for a fun watch.

In an era of sequels, prequels, reboots and franchise-within-franchises, it’s refreshing to see a filmmaker working in this mode, creating familiarity while keeping audiences on their toes. No Only has strengthened my anticipation for anything and whatever Peele does next.

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