After a small break yesterday, here I am with another review and it is of a film that I have been wanting to watch since quite a while now titled Nope. The reason for the delay was that I wished to watch Nope with a fresh mind as opposed to a tired mind. And this has got to do with the writer-director behind the making of this film Jordan Peele who has an impressive filmography to boast of. With impactful “social” horror films like Get Out and Us which are so layered with esoteric elements sprinkled in their narrative, you need to stay attentive right throughout to latch onto them. And I expected a similar ride with Nope and that needed an extra investment from my end – to stay attentive throughout. Finally I did get an opportunity to watch Nope amidst massive expectations and here are my two cents on it.
Story & Screenplay
Nope follows the story of the Haywood family who begin to experience strange occurences on their farm. And that is all you need to know about this drama which is nothing short of a visual spectacle. The screenplay standing at 130 minutes is about the right length of the drama. And if there are any budding writers out there, do notice how layered the screenplay is coupled with how the plots and subplots are seamlessly tied at the end.
The drama opens with a seemingly terrifying yet “unrelated” incident which sets the ball rolling. The introduction of the main players and their respective world building does take place through different stray incidents with one eye always on the main conflict. Which does bring me to the conflict which is introduced many reels later in a mysterious fashion with its undercurrents always being present in the subsequent reels.
The drama is a slow burn and requires patience to focus on its lines amidst the beautiful landscapes of the region where it is set in. The horror elements are deft with more focus being on the ambience which incidentally is a change of grammer from your usual horror films. Barring a few scenes shot in the dark, the entire drama is a daylight horror adventure which will have you hooked throughout.
There are subtle twists and turns in the drama which do peak your interest levels. The second half is just a splendid visual treat which needs to be experienced on the biggest screen possible(preferably IMAX). There are thrilling set pieces which catch you off guard including the one featuring the character of Jupe as he addresses a crowd. The ambience of the drama is so well maintained leading up to a visually spectacular final act which takes the cake!
The drama is layered and supremely relevant if you do understand what the makers are trying to say. This is more than just a UFO/Alien film. It is more of a social drama disguised as a horror film much like Peele’s other works. It is a fact of using a spectacle(good or bad) to your advantage instead of just looking past it or not helping but being an onlooker. To give you a perspective, how often have we seen traffic slow down during an accident primarily because the people want to look at the site and capture it on their cell phones instead of helping out. Similarly here, when one character said do not look at the “creature” and it won’t hurt you, he meant it in a way of not feeding the spectacle and looking past it. Because if you do, you will end up getting “consumed” by it. What a brilliantly penned screenplay which is well worth your time!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but hidden with anecdotes which need to be understood and thought about. The BGM perfectly adds to the ambience of the drama tactfully creating an image of fear in the minds of the viewer. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking, one of the best that I have seen all year. And I vannot stress it any further that this drama needs to be witnessed on the biggest screen possible. The VFX are stunningly brilliant which gives you another reason to make your way to a theatre near you. Director Jordan Peele does an excellent job yet again with ample of esoteric elements which makes for a cerebral yet satisfying viewing. His ability to seamlessly weave a story around a social issue is a delight to witness.
The performances are well measured here. Michael Wincott as Antlers and Brandon Perea as Angel have their moments to shine. Steven Yeun as Jupe is terrific as a man suffering from his past yet using that trauma for his monetary gains. Keke Palmer as Em is brilliant, a character with a lovely character arc. Daniel Kaluuya as OJ is excellent in a wonderfully restrained role. His towering screen presence is just brilliant to witness.
Nope is a relevant social horror adventure veiled as one of the best visual spectacles of the year. This one comes with my highest recommendation.