An appropriately unhinged parable about the dangers of exploitation

Spoilers ahead for the entire movie.

Like a staunch Jordan Peele Stan, Nope It was probably the original movie I was looking forward to the most this year.

There’s something about the way Peele crafts his stories that always amazes me, regardless of my take on the minor consistency issues with some of his concepts.

‘To this day, when talk of elevated horror breaks out, Salt it’s easily in my top five of all time.

It’s safe to say I had very high expectations for this movie, even if I’m not the biggest fan of alien sci-fi horror.

Unsurprisingly, Peele delivered one of the most evocative horror releases of 2022.

After about four watches of the film, I can confidently proclaim that this is another coup for Peele.

'Nope'.  Image: Screenshot

But before we dissect Jean Jacket, let’s cut through some spoiler-free formalities.

For those who still want to see the movie, the vaguest synopsis I can provide is that two brothers living in a semi-isolated desert spot an object in the sky and mischief ensues.

The film is written, directed and produced by Peele and stars Daniel Kaluuya as ‘OJ’ Haywood, Keke Palmer as ‘Em’ Haywood, Brandon Perea as Angel Torres and Steven Yeun as Ricky Park.

Overall, the movie is a technical marvel: the cast is perfect, their chemistry is fantastic, the direction and script are A1, the cinematography is impressive, and it has the coolest alien concept I’ve ever seen.

The movie works best if you go in not knowing much and not expecting to see a horror-filled bloodfest.

Even though Peele wrongly marketed it as a standard horror/sci-fi movie, Nope it’s not really that scary.

Yes, the horror elements in Nope they’re amazing when given time to take center stage, and their ability to build and maintain tension isn’t lost on film, but the film works best as a non-genre film.

It has elements of comedy, sparks of fantasy, grandiose displays of sci-fi, and the aforementioned creepy instances of horror.

Instead of pigeonholing into one genre, Nope it takes you on a journey using the best aspects of the genres it dabbles in and somehow makes sense of it.

My only real gripe with the film is that there are instances in the film where tonal shifts caused by gender bending on a whim take away the gravity of particular moments.

This is especially so in Peele’s use of comedy during the tense moments in the film, which almost interrupt the flow of the scene and the film’s subtextual intentions.

This is probably what puzzled many about Nope. It’s tonally everywhere and if you walk in expecting Alienyou will be very disappointed.

Although its roots in high horror are not as tangible as they are in Salt Y U.S, Nope it still manages to be a clever mediation on bad miracles, historical black erasure, exploitation, and the perils of seeking fame and/or fortune.

Such as SaltPeele’s twist was the reinterpretation of the possession film and U.S‘twist A Slasher Movie Reinterpretation, NopeThe twist of takes everything we know about alien movies to a place I’m genuinely surprised they haven’t been taken sooner.

So, let’s talk about it.

'Nope'.  Image: Screenshot


In Nope, somewhere in its second act, it is revealed that the alien ship that the brothers, OJ and Em, have been seeing is not, in fact, a ship.

Instead, the flying saucer in the sky is the actual alien, something OJ calls Jean Jacket.

Honestly, I should have seen it coming (because there was no way Peele was going to release a direct alien movie), but the Jean Jacket reveal actually caught me off guard.

What makes this twist so great isn’t the introduction of Jean Jacket, but rather how the film builds on the reveal and then uses what it built up to build on the rest of the story.

Yes, this should be just standard for twists, but too often, especially in horror, a twist is there to be a twist, but doesn’t really add anything to the overall story, its arc, the characters, or its themes. Many of them don’t even make sense (see: Pretty Little Liars Original Sin).

Jean Jacket being the alien and not an object anchors the story and changes the narrative of the story from “Hey! Look! An alien!” to “Hey, this alien is kinda cool, let’s blow it up.”

Almost all of the film’s subtextual themes come together there, particularly its exploration of erasure, exploitation, and fame.

'Nope'.  Image: Screenshot


Admittedly, this may seem like one of the film’s weaker themes because the constant shifts in tone can confuse exactly what Peele is trying to say about the erasure of black people in popular media.

There are instances showing that the brothers and their really hot sidekick, Angel, want to use their Jean Jacket documentation as a way to rewrite black people in popular media.

The beginning of the film immediately demarcates this through the proclamation that a 30-second clip of a black man riding a horse was the first person ever captured on film.

From this, I deduced that the brothers’ insistence on documenting Jean Jacket was their way of bringing black creators back to the fore, through undeniable proof that they were the first people to document the existence of aliens.

However, as the film progresses, it’s unclear what the film’s stance really is on documenting Jean Jacket, and, perhaps, is that the point?

'Nope'.  Image: Screenshot


The kind of ambiguous nature of the brothers’ purity of intentions is a direct result of their desire for fame and fortune.

In the first act of the film, it is established that the brother’s last remaining father, who had owned a company that supplied horses to Hollywood, had essentially died from Jean Jacket vomiting up debris such as metal, plastic, and rubber.

This put enormous pressure on OJ, particularly as he tries to keep his father’s company alive and deal with the financial crisis his death left on his sons.

Although not explicitly poor, OJ tries to sell his father’s horses to keep things afloat with the intention of buying them back once he discovers them.

However, they would be lucky to break into the Bubbling Under Hot 100 with the way things looked.

So when the potential for fame and fortune appeared once they saw there was a UFO in the sky, taking that opportunity makes sense for their characters and Nopeoverall narrative of .

It is here that pure intentions become confused and OJ’s desire for fame and fortune overrides his attempts to rewrite history, highlighted by the trio’s attempts to rationalize their willingness to risk their lives and the lives of others to exploit their situation and document. a clearly violent entity. .

'Nope'.  Image: Screenshot


Once again, like many instances in the film, the base of NopeThe exploration of the exploitation of is set from the beginning, where they show the consequences of a very deadly situation that may or may not be suspicious.

This scene is eventually revealed to be a time when a chimpanzee used in a television show went off the rails and attacked and killed several cast members during the recording of an episode.

To be honest, the chimpanzee’s inclusion in the overall story is somewhat confusing.

What I took away from it was that the point is to implicitly foreshadow the consequences of trying to tame something that is supposed to exist in the wild, especially for the sake of exploitation.

Initially, Jean Jacket largely leaves the trio alone, which OJ boils down to respecting him and his territory.

However, as the film unfolds, they begin to use this established respect and their knowledge of Jean Jacket against her, leading them to become increasingly aggressive towards them.

Ultimately, Jean Jacket reveals her final form as she resembles a wild animal that goes on a rampage to intimidate her assailant. Jacket is now defensive and scared of the people he once trusted enough to leave them unharmed.

While I don’t think any of the three will die, it does reveal the extent to which humans will manipulate their environment to their advantage, regardless of who they hurt in the process or what their initial intentions may have been.

'Nope'.  Image: Screenshot


If you haven’t noticed, I really liked it. Nope.

When I first sat down to review the movie, I wanted to do a quick spoiler-free review and call it a day, but movies like Nope It makes me very emotional and it explicitly shows that originality is not dead, it’s just evolving.

Nope it builds on established tropes, genres, and subgenres and takes it to a level that’s not only lofty and intentional, but unique in its own right.

It is also the most cinematic of all of Peele’s films and that can be seen in its visual aesthetic, sound design, cinematography, and atmosphere.

However, the tonal inconsistency and the inclusion of things that really don’t add up keep it from being his best work, for me.

Yet, Nope is one of the most evocative, interesting and genuinely exciting original alien movies in a long time.

It has the grandeur of U.S mixed with intelligence and the possibility of seeing again Salt – Run Peele his coins now!

Giving it a strong 8.5, maybe a slight 9 if I listen alien superstar by Beyoncé right after.

No, it’s available in theaters around the world.

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