Oscar winner Jordan Peele comes back to theaters with his third film in his filmography as a writer-director. The film is titled “Nope” and it is a weird mixture of Spielberg with Alfred Hitchcock, and Peele’s own fascination with the strange. Nope plays out similarly to Peele’s two previous movies, “Get Out”, and “Us”. They present these normal characters with a strange situation, and he lets things unfold, pretty much like the legendary series The Twilight Zone did with each of its episodes.
“Nope” is an uneven movie. It has some of the best sequences of the year, especially when it comes to delivering pure horror and shock, but it also feels a bit drawn out by weird pacing. The use of symbolism is also strange and uneven, as sometimes things are made just as clear as day, to a fault, while some other times the clues are so subtle that they will pass over most people’s heads. Either way, Nope is a unique film that needs to be seen on the largest screen possible.
Nope is one of the best films of the summer, and it has a ton of surprises. The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Nope. Read at your own risk.
What Happens In “Nope” The New Film By Jordan Peele?
The film opens with a shocking start. Pretty much like the way Peele opened his previous film, “Us” Nope opens with images that will only have the proper context later in the film. We see a set, we see blood, empty audience seats, and there is a feeling of dread and horror during the entire sequence. Something terrible happened here. We are actually in the past; 1998 to be more precise. A chimpanzee named Gordy has just killed his human co-stars.
In the same set, being witness to the entire massacre is Ricky Park, also known as Jupiter. The young boy has seen the animal kill people brutally, but then, as they see in each other’s eyes, the chimpanzee goes for a salute. They clash their knuckles as a sign of friendship, and then Gordy is killed in front of Jupe by the police. It is a chilling and terrifying sequence, delivered in two parts during the film. And it is a very important part of what makes the character of Ricky Park tick.
In the present, we are introduced to OJ and Em, two siblings trying to keep the family business afloat. OJ runs the Haywood farm where he raises horses aimed at working in film and TV productions. Sadly, the advancements in CGI and other factors are leaving them behind. They claim that the first person ever to be filmed was a black man on a horse, which is true. That film does exist in real life, but to drive the point back home, the name of the jockey has been lost to history.
OJ and Em’s father died not long ago when some strange debris fell from the sky, killing him. Besides strange things falling from the sky, there have also been mysterious screams, strange lights, and some other weird phenomena occurring around the ranch. They enlist the help of Angel, an electronics salesman, to install cameras around the property. Meanwhile, Jupiter, now grown up, has opened his own attraction near the ranch. Jupe is using his fame to attack people curious about meeting the survivor of his incident as a child.
In order to make ends meet, OJ starts selling horses to Jupe, who is using those horses for his new act. He feeds the horses to the alien that has been living in the area. Jupe feels this sort of connection, a feeling that he has an understanding of the creature in the same way he had it with Gordy when he was a kid. He is ready for his new act to make him famous once again. However, he fails when one of the horses doesn’t want to leave its cage. And so, the alien eats Jupiter and all the audience.
OJ, and Em discover the alien and plan to take a high-resolution picture to become famous and profit from it. They recruit a cinematographer, Antlers, and they prepare a plan to lure the alien. They do it, but Antlers is eaten in the process. In the end, Em manages to take the picture using a Polaroid and kills the alien using a balloon that inflates while being inside the alien, making it explode from the inside. With the picture in hand, Em is ready to receive the glory she deserves.
What Is The Meaning Behind Jordan Peele’s New Film?
In “Nope” Peele tries to develop the theme of the unseen. There are many things that are unseen in this world. Things like the concepts of love, hate, and God cannot be seen, but only felt. It doesn’t mean that they are real, but from a certain perspective, people are willing to believe in things. And so when Em tells the story about the black jockey, who was the first person ever captured on film. It tells us about a reality that Hollywood has often denied. Black people have been part of it from its beginnings.
From there, we can jump to discussions such as whitewashing and many others, but Peele goes beyond that. When we discover that the alien only kills those who dare look at it in the eye, it becomes a powerful metaphor about how looking at and accepting the ugly realities around us is a dangerous thing. If you dare to face these powers that be, you become endangered, and you could be killed. Things, like the Harvey Weinstein case, are proof that there are realities known to everyone that we choose to ignore because it is safer.
It is a complicated matter because some other people, like Jupiter, think they can profit from the suffering of others. They believe they are superior and deceive themselves into thinking they can be more than what they really are. When Gordy spared him during the set incident, Jupe started to think he was special but was not ready to face the fact that he was not. The film moves in and out of the theme that the people that truly deserve our attention are ignored.
Nope is a bit all over the place, just like it happened to Us. The film can have multiple interpretations and will surely be discussed plenty once everyone has had the chance to see it. But the main theme will remain the same. Sometimes the clues are too subtle, and sometimes they are too on the nose, but no matter what, it will give film fans a lot to talk about in the upcoming weeks.