By Chris Leonard
Following Jordan Peele’s past two blockbusters, “Nope” is one that is sure to satisfy fans all across the country. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer headline this year’s best thriller, behind Peele’s sensational directing job that pays homage to early works of Spielberg.
“Nope” follows a man who owns a ranch in California, when an unfamiliar visitor begins to terrorize and scare the people surrounding him. While some look to profit off this spectacle, OJ (played by Kaluuya), strives to discover more about the creature and how to destroy it. This film draws inspiration from legendary thrillers, “Jaws” being the closest relative. “Nope” aims to strike fear straight into the viewer’s soul and does so with booming audio and jaw-dropping visual effects that draw audiences to theaters.
Worldwide, Peele’s recent thriller raked in $170,674,668, the second most grossing of his three films. Fans of Peele know that he litters his films with messages and greater ideas, so that it takes the viewer a couple days to realize what the seemingly symbolic film meant. “Nope,” rated R for some violence and bloody images, focuses on human’s obsession with taming nature for profit, and the gruesome outcomes that it may come with. Many animals were used to tell the story, and Peele describes this as “a reminder on how we treat anything that doesn’t qualify as human.” These themes can also be seen in films such as “King Kong” and “Jurassic Park,” where people attempt to capture and control nature or creatures for one’s own profit.
“Nope” cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema does a magnificent job of crafting beautiful shots of wide-open landscapes, using an IMAX camera to capture these lush terrain shots. Hoytema said in a July interview in “Variety” that he wanted something that felt remotely like a spectacle and wanted to show that he had grown from the slightly lesser-scope films. With this, he wanted to explore space and vastness. This IMAX camera was used for about 40 percent of the scenes shot in the film, creating a truly dazzling scene for audiences to view in theaters.
Many viewers find the plot difficult to follow, with many different plot lines and flashbacks occurring alongside the main storyline. Although there may be many different stories happening at once, it takes a careful viewer to capture the true meaning of these flashbacks. Some viewers also had gripes about the runtime of two hours and 10 minutes, but Peele’s pacing creates an environment that will keep viewer’s eyes glued to the screen. Peele manages to string along scenes of terror to create suspense leading up the revelation of the UFO.
Overall, Peele’s “Nope” earns an 8.5/10 rating on our scale, establishing itself as one of the top thrillers of the year. Critics have labeled it a resounding success, cementing Jordan Peele’s place towards the top of the directing and writing food chain of Hollywood. The cinematography and symbolism throughout the film make this a masterpiece on screen, despite few viewers opinions on specifics. Peele’s massive success with his past three films will have viewers waiting desperately for his next blockbuster.